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Ex-Merrill analyst sentenced

Shpigelman gets 37 months for role in insider trades in Gillette, Reebok deals

Former Merrill Lynch investment banking analyst Stanislav Shpigelman leaves Manhattan federal court yesterday. (Louis Lanzano/Associated Press)

NEW YORK -- Former Merrill Lynch & Co. analyst Stanislav Shpigelman was sentenced to 37 months in prison for leaking secret information on a pending deal, the first analyst jailed in the million-dollar insider-trading scheme.

Shpigelman, 24, a former analyst in Merrill's mergers-and-acquisitions division, yesterday told US District Judge Kenneth Karas he was "sorry" for giving secret information about pending mergers to two junior employees at Goldman Sachs Group, Eugene Plotkin and David Pajcin, who allegedly bought shares in companies targeted for takeover.

"I realize what I've done is inexcusable," Shpigelman said in Manhattan federal court. "I do beg for leniency."

Yesterday's sentencing is the second in a case that has led to criminal charges against Plotkin, Pajcin, and others. Last month Jason Smith, a former mailman in New Jersey, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for leaking secret information from a grand jury he served on to Plotkin and Pajcin to use in insider trading.

Shpigelman was a "mole inside Merrill Lynch," Assistant US Attorney Benjamin Lawsky told Karas. "On any one of these deals, a savvy trader could make millions of dollars." New York-based Merrill fired Shpigelman after the scheme came to light.

Shpigelman, who lives in Brooklyn, faced 37 to 46 months in prison.

Prosecutors said Shpigelman leaked information on six pending transactions in 2004 and 2005, including Procter & Gamble Co.'s $61 billion purchase of Gillette Co. Shpigelman admitted in his guilty plea in July that he tipped the others about a single deal, Adidas-Salomon AG's $3.67 billion purchase of Reebok International.

Lawsky disputed Shpigelman's claim that he was "pressured" to leak information that helped others earn at least $2.5 million in illegal profits. "Mr. Shpigelman did this for the oldest reason in the book -- greed -- and his desire to make bundles and bundles of money," Lawsky said.

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