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Visium's Valvani dead in apparent suicide

[NEW YORK] Sanjay Valvani, the Visium Asset Management hedge fund money manager charged with insider trading last week, was found dead this morning in an apparent suicide, Dow Jones reported, citing sources it didn't identify.

Jonathan Gasthalter, a spokesman for Visium, wasn't available to comment. Calls to Valvani's home went unanswered.

According to the federal indictment last week, Valvani, 44, hired a consultant to get information about the approval status of a generic drug. Valvani is accused of using the information to trade in stocks, and passing the information to Chris Plaford, who oversaw the credit fund, prosecutors said.

Visium is the biggest hedge fund in the industry to have employees linked to criminal wrongdoing since the government set its sights on billionaire Steve Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors. That firm pleaded guilty to federal insider-trading charges in 2013, agreed to pay US$1.8 billion and was forced to shut its doors.