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[NEW YORK] A New York hedge fund manager charged last week with insider trading was found dead with a slashed neck in an apparent suicide, police said Tuesday.
Sanjay Valvani, 44, was found unconscious on the bedroom floor at home in the upscale neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights with a slash wound to his neck late on Monday afternoon, a police spokesman told AFP.
He was found by his 44-year-old wife. The knife and a brief, handwritten note were recovered at the scene. A medical examiner will determine the official cause of death, police said.
His defence lawyers Barry Berke and Eric Tirschwell called his death "a horrible tragedy that is difficult to comprehend." They paid tribute to Valvani as a loving father, husband, son and brother.
"We hope for the sake of his family and his memory that it will not be forgotten that the charges against him were only unproven accusations and he had always maintained his innocence," they said.
Valvani surrendered to police last Tuesday in connection with an alleged 2005 to 2011 scheme to obtain confidential information from the Food and Drug Administration about pending drug approvals to trade in pharmaceutical securities.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that he reaped unlawful profits of nearly US$32 million for hedge funds investing in health-care securities by insider trading on tips he received.
He was charged on five counts, including security and wire fraud. The most serious charges carried a maximum sentence of 20 years if he had been convicted.