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Goldman Sachs Begins Probe After Insider-Trading Testimony

Bob Van Voris

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is reviewing a claim from a confessed member of an international insider-trading ring that he stole confidential information a decade ago from his former girlfriend, who is now a managing director at the firm, to trade on.

Marc Demane Debih, the government’s star witness, testified Wednesday in a Manhattan insider-trading trial that he got data on three proposed corporate acquisitions in the mining industry from Zeynep Yenel, who was then his girlfriend.

“We are aware of the statements made during the testimony,” Goldman Sachs spokeswoman Nicole Sharp said in a statement Thursday. “We are taking them seriously and conducting our own review.”

Demane Debih testified in the trial of Telemaque Lavidas, who is charged with passing secret information from his father, a former director at a Boston-based drug company, to Georgios Nikas, a Greek businessman who owns restaurants in New York. Demane Debih, a former Swiss trader, pleaded guilty to 38 criminal counts in October. He’s cooperating with prosecutors in hopes of reducing his time behind bars.

Inside Tips

Demane Debih told jurors that in 2010 or 2011 he got information from Yenel on London Mining Plc, Breakwater Resources Ltd. and Copper Mountain Mining Corp. He testified that he traded on the Copper Mountain information and passed a Breakwater tip to his friend Nikas. He said he doesn’t remember whether he traded on London Mining.

Yenel wasn’t aware that he was able to determine the identity of her clients, Demane Debih said.

“How did you figure that out?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Tracer asked.

“From asking her different questions, and I was looking at the market, and figured out which company she was working for,” Demane Debih responded.

Yenel is one of two Goldman Sachs investment bankers whose names came up in Demane Debih’s testimony. The former Swiss trader also told jurors that former Goldman Sachs Vice President Bryan Cohen was a source of inside information, tipping him on as many as six or seven corporate deals.

Cohen pleaded guilty to conspiracy on Tuesday and faces as long as five years in prison. He was terminated late last year, according to the firm.

The case is U.S. v. Lavidas, 19-cr-716, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Read More

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(Updates with details of testimony)

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in federal court in Manhattan at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Joe Schneider

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