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SEC charges hedge fund with naked short-selling

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 13, 2006

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones/AP) — Federal regulators sued a Dallas-based hedge-fund manager Tuesday, alleging he pulled in more than $6.5 million of gains through illegal trading involving “naked” short sales of dozens of companies.

Edwin Buchanan Lyon IV, the managing partner and chief investment officer of Gryphon Partners LP, was charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday, along with Gryphon and six other related firms based in Texas and Bermuda.

According to the SEC’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Manhattan, from 2001 to 2004, Gryphon would engage in “naked” short sales, typically through Canada, after agreeing to invest in PIPE deals, or private investments in public equity.

The SEC also charged Gryphon with trading on inside information on at least four PIPE deals, involving Celsion Corp., Gentner Communications Corp., Manufacturers Service Ltd. and PhotoMedex Inc., by selling their shares short ahead of public announcement of the stock offerings. Lawyers advised Lyon not to engage in trading in advance of the deals, but he did it anyway, according to the SEC.

Short selling, which involves sales of borrowed shares in hopes of replacing them later at a lower price, is legal. So-called “naked” short selling occurs when the short seller doesn’t borrow shares before selling them, a practice that was legal in Canada at the time.


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