Investor Bill Hwang Found Guilty of Manipulating ViacomCBS Stock

Investor Bill Hwang Found Guilty of Manipulating ViacomCBS Stock

Maverick investor Bill Hwang was found guilty Wednesday by a Manhattan federal jury of fraud and racketeering charges in a market manipulation case involving ViacomCBS shares and other stocks.

Hwang was found guilty of 10 out 11 counts of fraud and racketeering related to his stock trading activity. In 2020 and 2021, he stealthily amassed more than 50% of outstanding common shares in the company that was then ViacomCBS — now Paramount Global (and about to be taken over by David Ellison’s Skydance Media).

Hwang was accused of lying to banks and taking other steps to hide his trades and swaps bought on borrowed money to inflate the value of the public companies and his Archegos Capital Management investment fund. When ViacomCBS shares took a big tumble in March 2021, Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management family office went bust. That left a number of high-profile banks including UBS, Credit Suisse, Nomura and Morgan Stanley with more than $10 billion in losses from Archegos loans.

Hwang will remain on bail until sentencing, which was set by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein for Oct. 28. Hwang was acquitted on a market manipulation charge related to a Chinese online video company, iQIYI, according to Reuters.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams issued a lengthy statement about the verdict against Hwang and his co-defendant Patrick Halligan, who was Archegos’ chief financial officer. Williams said the solid 10 out of 11 guilty verdicts should said a strong warning to those who scheme to skirt Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Hwang’s activity ultimately shed light on gaps in stock purchase disclosure obligations for firms such as Archegos.

“Moments ago, a unanimous jury found Sung Kook ‘Bill’ Hwang and Patrick Halligan guilty of a massive market manipulation scheme via the private investment firm Archegos. As the evidence at trial has shown, Hwang, founder and owner of Archegos, and Halligan, Archegos’s Chief Financial Officer, made false assurances and lied to Wall Street investment banks to induce them to provide capital to Archegos, which Hwang and Halligan then used to inflate the stock prices of several publicly traded companies,” Williams said. “Hwang and Halligan lied about Archegos’s positions in these companies and just about every other materially important metric investment banks would use in determining the firm’s creditworthiness. In doing so, Hwang and Halligan were able to fraudulently inflate a $1.5 billion portfolio into a $36 billion portfolio. This verdict should send a resounding message that this Office will continue to police the financial markets with an eagle eye and swiftly hold accountable those who think they can cheat the system.”

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