Federal agents arrest Archegos Capital Management founder Sung Kook “Bill” Hwang for fraud

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2022-70 Washington D.C., April 27, 2022 —

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Sung Kook (Bill) Hwang, the owner of family office Archegos Capital Management, LP (Archegos), with orchestrating a fraudulent scheme that resulted in billions of dollars in losses. The SEC also charged Archegos’s Chief Financial Officer, Patrick Halligan; head trader, William Tomita; and Chief Risk Officer, Scott Becker for their roles in the fraudulent scheme.

Also charged are Hwang and Patrick Halligan, CFO’s for commiting racketeering conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud to “unlawfully manipulate” the price of publicly traded securities.

The SEC’s complaint alleges that, from at least March 2020 to March 2021, Hwang purchased on margin billions of dollars of total return swaps. These security-based swaps allow investors to take on huge positions in equity securities of companies by posting limited funds up front. As alleged, Hwang frequently entered into certain of these swaps without any economic purpose other than to artificially and dramatically drive up the prices of the various companies’ securities, which induced other investors to purchase those securities at inflated prices. As a result of Hwang’s trading, Archegos allegedly underwent a period of rapid growth, increasing in value from approximately $1.5 billion with $10 billion in exposure in March 2020 to a value of more than $36 billion with $160 billion in exposure at its peak in March 2021.

The complaint also alleges that, as part of the scheme, Archegos repeatedly and deliberately misled many of Archegos’s counterparties about Archegos’s exposure, concentration and liquidity, in order to get increased trading capacity so that Archegos could continue buying swaps in its most concentrated positions, thereby driving up the price of those stocks. Ultimately in March 2021, price declines in Archegos’s most concentrated positions allegedly triggered significant margin calls that Archegos was unable to meet, and Archegos’s subsequent default and collapse resulted in billions of dollars in credit losses among Archegos’s counterparties.

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Source: SEC.gov

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