Joe Lewis, the owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team and a prominent British billionaire, has been charged in the United States for his alleged involvement in an insider trading scheme. The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Damian Williams of the Southern District of New York. According to Williams, Lewis, who is 86 years old, is accused of abusing his access to corporate boardrooms over the course of several years. He allegedly provided inside information to various individuals, including his romantic partners, personal assistants, private pilots, and friends. Williams described Lewis’s actions as a “brazen insider trading scheme” and emphasized that such behavior constitutes corporate corruption and is illegal for anyone, regardless of their status or wealth.
In response to the charges, Lewis’s lawyer, David M. Zornow, strongly defended his client’s integrity and accomplishments. Zornow criticized the government for what he called an “egregious error in judgment” with the charges. He asserted that Lewis is a man of impeccable integrity and has voluntarily come to the United States to address these allegations. Zornow further stated that they will vigorously defend Lewis in court against the charges.
Potential Extradition and Financial Background
The extradition relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, established through a bilateral treaty signed in 2003, allows for the extradition of individuals deemed serious offenders wanted in connection with various crimes. As Lewis faces charges in the U.S., this treaty could potentially lead to his extradition from the UK to the US for trial.
With a net worth estimated at $6.1 billion by Forbes, Joe Lewis is a highly influential figure in the business world. He is the founder of Tavistock Group, a private investment firm, and has been the majority owner of the Tottenham Hotspur soccer team for more than two decades. Lewis acquired a majority stake in the team after Alan Sugar sold his shares for approximately $50 million, which would be equivalent to today’s value. According to Forbes’ annual rankings, Tottenham Hotspur is the ninth most valuable soccer club globally, with an estimated worth of $2.8 billion.
NBC News has reached out to both Tavistock Group and Tottenham Hotspur for their comments on Lewis’s indictment. As the legal proceedings unfold, the future of Lewis’s ownership of the soccer team and his reputation as a prominent British billionaire will undoubtedly be closely watched.