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SAC Capital plea deal may come early next week: WSJ

An exterior view of the headquarters of SAC Capital Advisors, L.P. in Stamford, Connecticut, in this picture taken December 13, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The settlement U.S. prosecutors are hammering out with SAC Capital Advisors, Steven A. Cohen's multibillion-dollar hedge fund, over criminal charges related to insider trading could be announced early next week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Reuters had previously reported that the deal, which will likely involve some admission of guilt along with a penalty of more than $1 billion, was likely to be announced within days.

Negotiations have been underway for several weeks. Any settlement would be a blow to Cohen and his reputation as one of the greatest stock traders of his generation. But people familiar with the billionaire trader told Reuters he has been telling people he is looking to put the nearly seven-year long investigation of his firm behind him.

The payment to the government would be structured as both penalty and forfeiture of trading profits allegedly derived from improper trading by Cohen's hedge fund, the person familiar with the matter said.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment. A spokesman for SAC Capital also declined to comment.

(Reporting By Emily Flitter; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)