By Emily Flitter and Matthew Goldstein
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lawyers for SAC Capital Advisors called a meeting with U.S. prosecutors and FBI agents in April to argue that there should be no insider trading charges filed against the $15 billion hedge fund or its founder, Steven A. Cohen, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Lawyers for the firm made an "aggressive presentation," according to the sources, reviewing the government's investigation in detail to support their claim that the government did not have enough evidence to charge Cohen.
A lawyer for SAC Capital did not respond to a request for comment. Representatives of the FBI declined to comment.
In the meeting, Cohen's legal team, led by Martin Klotz of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, spent several hours with top prosecutors for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, including Deputy U.S. Attorney Richard Zabel and Lorin Reisner, chief of the criminal division.
A representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also attended the meeting, the sources said on condition of anonymity.
Cohen's lawyers, who had asked for the meeting, made a detailed presentation as to why federal authorities did not have enough evidence to charge the billionaire trader with either insider trading or any other securities law violation. They prepared a stock by stock, trade by trade analysis for prosecutors in an attempt to dispel any notion that Cohen had done anything wrong.
Cohen's lawyers also argued that prosecutors should not file criminal charges against SAC Capital, which has $15 billion under management, because doing so would effectively force the 21-year-old hedge fund to shut down and result in the loss of 1,000 jobs.
Last week, a few weeks after the meeting, prosecutors served a subpoena on Cohen seeking his testimony before a grand jury. Sources said several other executives at the hedge fund also were served with subpoenas seeking their testimony before the grand jury.
Cohen has not been charged with wrongdoing. Federal prosecutors are stepping up the pressure on Cohen's firm at a time the statute of limitations for bringing charges on some of the trades being investigated by authorities is about to expire.
Cohen and his hedge fund have emerged as the most prominent subjects of the long-running investigation into insider trading in the hedge fund industry.
(Reporting by Emily Flitter and Matthew Goldstein; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Doina Chiacu)