CHICAGO (Reuters) - SAC Capital Advisors LLP is under investigation by a powerful Republican Senator for 20 possible instances of insider trading, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.
Charles Grassley, who heads the Senate Judiciary Committee, last month asked the Financial industry Regulatory Authority for details on any suspicious trading by Steven Cohen's $13 billion hedge fund.
Last week Finra provided Grassley with about 20 instances where SAC's trades took place ahead of market-moving news or were otherwise suspicious enough to merit referral to the Securities and Exchange Commission's enforcement staff, the Wall Street Journal said.
It was not clear if the trades had been referred to the SEC, and authorities have not alleged wrongdoing by SAC or Cohen, the report said.
SAC representatives and Congressional investigators met in Washington on May 10 to discuss the matter, the report said.
At the meeting, SAC representatives suggested the investigators go easy on the hedge fund, saying it has internal procedures to track down and prevent illegal trading, according to the report.
Also at the meeting, Washington-based SAC Capital in-house lobbyist Michael Sullivan cited Cohen's "civic-minded interest" in purchasing a stake in the New York Mets baseball team.
Spokesmen from SAC and Grassley's office were not immediately available to comment to Reuters.
(Reporting by Ann Saphir with reporting by Matt Goldstein)