(Adds U.S. prosecutor's statement, details)
By Grant McCool
NEW YORK May 5 A former day trader pleaded guilty on Tuesday to criminal charges of making $1.5 million from stock tips he received from a friend who misappropriated confidential corporate information from his wife, a New York public relations executive specializing in mergers.
Jamil Bouchareb, 27, who faces up to 25 years imprisonment on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy charges, told a Manhattan federal court judge he received tips from former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEHMQ.PK salesman Matthew Devlin.
Devlin, who pleaded guilty to insider trading charges last Dec. 16, passed on stock trading tips without the knowledge of his wife, Nina Devlin, a public relations executive specializing in mergers and acquisitions with the Brunswick Group. She has not been charged in the case.
Bouchareb, of Miami Beach, Florida and Devlin are among five men charged criminally in the insider trading scheme that raked in a total of about $4.8 million in profits between March 2004 and July 2007.
"He (Devlin) gave me recommendations, I traded on them," Bouchareb told U.S. magistrate judge Debra Freeman at Tuesday's hearing. "There was a point when I realized some of the information was coming from his spouse."
In a statement in December, Nina Devlin's lawyer James Benjamin said: "She was completely unaware that confidential information about her job was being used as the basis for securities trading."
U.S. prosecutors said in a statement that Bouchareb obtained confidential information about six mergers and acquisitions from Matthew Devlin. It said the co-conspirators referred to Nina Devlin as "the Golden Goose" and she expected her husband to keep her confidences.
Court documents showed the government accused the ring of illegal trades in 13 impending mergers or transactions, including Novartis AG (NOVN.VX) acquiring Eon Labs in 2005 and Alcoa Inc's (AA.N) hostile offer for Alcan in 2007.
The cases are USA v Devlin et al 08-mag-2777/78/79 and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v Devlin et al in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan) (Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Andre Grenon and Tim Dobbyn)
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