Joe Lewis pleads ‘NOT GUILTY’ to 19 insider trading charges and posts whopping $300MILLION bond: Tottenham Hotspur owner, 86, is accused of tipping off his friends, pilots and even romantic partners

Joe Lewis, the British billionaire whose family trust owns a majority share of Tottenham Hotspur soccer team, pleaded not guilty to 19 counts of insider trading in a Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday before being released on $300million bail.

‘Not guilty, your honor,’ Lewis told judge Valerie Figueredo, while wearing a grey suit and dark blue tie.

The 86-year-old, whose fortune is estimated to be $6.1billion, is accused of ‘orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme’ by passing on tips about companies to friends, personal assistants, private pilots and romantic partners. The alleged crimes are said to have taken place between 2013 and 2021, when Lewis was Spurs’ owner.

Lewis appeared in federal court on Wednesday afternoon, along with two of his pilots and co-defendants – Patrick O’Connor and Bryan Waugh. They are suspected of making millions of dollars in illegal profit from Lewis’ tips. 

They, too, pleaded not guilty. 

Joe Lewis pleaded not guilty to insider trading in a Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday

Joe Lewis pleaded not guilty to insider trading in a Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday

The 86-year-old is flanked by his legal team as he leaves court following the hearing

The 86-year-old is flanked by his legal team as he leaves court following the hearing

A sketch of Lewis, whose fortune is estimated to be worth $6.1billion, from inside court

A sketch of Lewis, whose fortune is estimated to be worth $6.1billion, from inside court

Lewis is ushered into a taxi after being released on a $300million bond in New York

Lewis is ushered into a taxi after being released on a $300million bond in New York

Lewis’ bond was secured by his superyacht Aviva – which is worth $250million – and personal aircraft.

The 86-year-old must surrender his passport and cannot leave the United States. 

He is forbidden from travelling on his yachts and can only use his private aircraft after notifying the authorities. He is expected back in court on September 5.

Lewis surrendered to the FBI on Wednesday morning at around 6:30am. He appeared outside the courtroom shortly after 1pm, flanked by a small army of attorneys.

He was charged with 16 counts of securities fraud and three counts of conspiracy. The charges each carry a maximum prison sentence of between five and 25 years.

O’Connor, 66, from New York, and Waugh, 64, from Virginia, each face seven counts of securities fraud and a conspiracy count. 

After shuffling into Courtroom 5A, Lewis sat on the benches at the back of the court, before he and his co-defendants were summoned by a US Marshal.

The billionaire's $300m bond was secured by his superyacht Aviva and personal aircraft

The billionaire’s $300m bond was secured by his superyacht Aviva and personal aircraft

The 86-year-old is pictured alongside Spurs chairman Daniel Levy (right) in north London

The 86-year-old is pictured alongside Spurs chairman Daniel Levy (right) in north London 

The 86-year-old is accused of 'orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme' by prosecutors

The 86-year-old is accused of ‘orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme’ by prosecutors

The court in Manhattan rose around 1.30pm, before Judge Figueredo read out their rights. 

Although cameras were not permitted in the courtroom, Lewis was seen smiling to his attorneys outside the courtroom and was then met by camera crews as he left and jumped into a taxi. None of the defendants or their legal teams wanted to comment. 

Lewis has investments that range from sport to agriculture and his art collection boasts works by Picasso, Matisse, Degas and more.

Lewis’ Tavistock Group has stakes in more than 200 companies around the world, including investment firm ENIC which bought a controlling stake in Tottenham in 2001.

Spurs responded with a statement describing the charges as a ‘legal matter unconnected with the club.’ The Premier League declined to comment.

Tottenham described the charges against Lewis as a 'legal matter unconnected with the club'

Tottenham described the charges against Lewis as a ‘legal matter unconnected with the club’

But the top flight are not planning to take action against Tottenham following last night as the reclusive billionaire does not technically own the club.

A conviction for corruption would put Lewis in breach of the Premier League’s owners and directors test, but the 86-year-old is no longer a person of significant control at Tottenham after he transferred his shares to members of the Lewis Family Trust last year.

In an update issued by Companies House on 5 October. Tottenham revealed that two little known Bahamas-based lawyers, Bryan Antoine Glinton and Katie Louise Booth, had been appointed as ‘persons with significant control’ of the club.

In a complex ownership structure Tottenham are 87 per cent owned by ENIC Group, of which 30 per cent of those shares belong to chairman Daniel Levy, with the remaining 70 per cent owned by members of the Lewis Family Trust. 

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