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Aug 25, 9:45 PM EDT

Ex-J.P. Morgan analyst pleads not guilty to insider trading


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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former J.P. Morgan Securities analyst in California pleaded not guilty Tuesday to taking part in insider trading that prosecutors say netted more than $600,000.

Ashish Aggarwal, 27, of San Francisco, and two Los Angeles friends entered not guilty pleas in federal court.

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles indicted each of them on 30 counts of conspiracy, securities fraud, tender offer fraud and wire fraud. The three men surrendered to FBI agents earlier in the day and were expected to be released on bond.

Each fraud count carries a possible 20-year prison term. The men also are facing a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Mr. Aggarwal denies the charges against him. He has retained Goodwin Procter to represent him in this matter and intends to vigorously defend himself against these allegations," said a statement from Grant Fondo, who is representing him in the SEC case.

Calls to attorneys representing Bolandian and Sadigh in the civil case were not immediately returned.

Aggarwal was an investment banking analyst in J.P. Morgan's San Francisco office between June 2011 and June 2013.

According to the indictment, Aggarwal got insider information about upcoming mergers and acquisitions of publicly traded companies and shared it with Shahriyar Bolandian, 26, who in turn shared it with Kevan Sadigh, 28.

Bolandian and Sadigh allegedly used the information to make advance trades that netted the three men more than $600,000.

The men used some of the money to cover previous trading losses and to repay debts incurred by Aggarwal and Bolandian, according to prosecutors.

"Every professional with access to inside information has a duty and responsibility to protect that information so no one gains an unfair advantage in the securities markets," U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker said in a statement. "Insider trading corrodes the integrity of the markets and undermines confidence among those who choose to trade."

The SEC's suit, also filed in Los Angeles, alleges the men committed insider trading and exploited J.P. Morgan and its clients by using its confidential information. It seeks unspecified fines and restitution against the three.

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