Date
21 August 2018
Benjamin Chow, a co-founder of Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, was charged with tipping a friend in 2016 about his firm's planned acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor. Photo: Reuters
Benjamin Chow, a co-founder of Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, was charged with tipping a friend in 2016 about his firm's planned acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor. Photo: Reuters

China-backed buyout fund founder guilty of insider trading

A partner of a private equity firm with Chinese state backing was found guilty in a US court of insider trading related to the attempted acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corp., Reuters reports, citing prosecutors in New York.

Benjamin Chow, 45, who co-founded Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy by a jury in Manhattan federal court, according to a statement from the office of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

Chow is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 20 by US District Judge Gregory Woods.

“While we have been informed of the verdict, we have not had the opportunity to review the court’s ruling,” Canyon Bridge said in an emailed statement. “We will be assessing the situation.”

Canyon Bridge’s financing can be traced back to China’s State Council, the top decision-making body of the Chinese government, Reuters had previously reported

Prosecutors charged Chow, an American citizen born in China, with tipping a friend in 2016 about Canyon Bridge’s planned acquisition of Oregon-based Lattice before it was announced, allowing the friend to make about US$5 million in profits.

The friend was identified in a separate lawsuit by the US Securities and Exchange Commission last year as Michael Yin, a former Hong Kong-based private equity executive who had become a hedge fund manager.

US President Donald Trump blocked the Lattice deal in September.

Since then, Canyon Bridge has set its sights on acquisition targets outside of the United States. It closed on the purchase of British chipmaker Imagination Technologies Group Ltd. for 550 million pounds (US$718 million) late last year. The sale did not include a unit of the company, US chip designer MIPS, which was divested to an investment firm.

According to Canyon Bridge’s website, Chow previously ran semiconductor investments for private equity firm Warburg Pincus in Asia, and was a managing director of China Reform Fund Management, a private equity investment firm financed at least in part by China’s government and its state-owned firms.

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RC/CG

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