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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 June, 2003, 18:08 GMT 19:08 UK
ImClone founder jailed
Samuel Waksal
Imclone's founder has been jailed
The former head of US biotech firm ImClone has been jailed for seven years for insider trading and tax evasion.

Dr Samuel Waksal was sentenced on Tuesday to 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $3m in fines.

Waksal was charged last year after he told family and friends to sell their shares, a day before the Federal Drug Administration refused to review ImClone's new cancer drug.

The scandal widened as it emerged Mr Waksal was a close friend of the US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, who also offloaded ImClone shares worth about $228,000 shortly before the regulator rejected the biotech firm's application.

'Rigged'

Prosecutor Michael Schachter told a packed Manhattan courtroom Waksal had "violated a sacred trust with his shareholders".

He said Waksal told "numerous, seperate and distinct sets of lies", surrounding his family's sale of the stock, sending out the message to investors "that the game is rigged".

But defence attorney Mark Pomerantz said Waksal had been devoted to ImClone and had only covered up the insider trading because he did not want to leave the company.

He said the insider trading was not a "sophisticated, highly-planned course of conduct", but had "took place literally on the spur of the moment".

Stewart charged

Waksal pleaded guilty last October to six felony counts related to insider trading, and in March, he pleaded guilty to charges he evaded taxes on $15m worth of art he purchased.

He had been named in a 13 count indictment in August 2002, accusing him of bank and securities fraud and obstruction of justice.

Martha Stewart was indicted last week on charges of securities fraud, conspiracy and making false statements to federal agents.

She pleaded not guilty.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Columbia University's Prof John Coffee
"He never co-operated, he stonewalled, and then he lied under oath."



SEE ALSO:
Stewart resigns as company head
05 Jun 03  |  Business
Partial deal in US insider case
11 Mar 03  |  Business
Ex-ImClone boss admits fraud
15 Oct 02  |  Business
Martha Stewart quits exchange board
04 Oct 02  |  Business
Ex-ImClone boss indicted for fraud
07 Aug 02  |  Business
Martha Stewart sued by investor
22 Aug 02  |  Business
Martha Stewart hands over files
21 Aug 02  |  Business
Martha Stewart called to testify
07 Aug 02  |  Business
Ex-ImClone boss charged with fraud
12 Jun 02  |  Business


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