ShopClues Founder and former CEO Sandeep Aggarwal has been barred from trading by Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). He had pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in November 2013 in a federal court for tipping Richard Lee, a former SAC Capital portfolio manager about a pending deal between Yahoo and Microsoft in 2009, while he was working at Collins Stewart as an analyst.
The SEC order is part of a settlement submitted by Aggarwal and as per the order he will be barred from association with any broker, dealer, investment adviser, municipal securities dealer, municipal advisor, transfer agent, or nationally recognized statistical rating organization. He will also be barred from participating in any offering of a penny stock, including: acting as a promoter, finder, consultant, agent or other person who engages in activities with a broker, dealer or issuer for purposes of the issuance or trading in any penny stock, or inducing or attempting to induce the purchase or sale of any penny stock.
If Aggarwal had not cooperated with the investigators, he could have been sentenced to 25 years in prison. FBI agents had arrested Sandeep Aggarwal in July 2013 and he had charged him with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was also being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission (more on the original case).
A day later, Aggarwal was however released on a $500,000 bond and ShopClues had said that all the charges contained in the complaint were just accusations and the defendant is presumed unless and until proven guilty. Later on, co-founder Sanjay Sethi had taken over from Aggarwal as ShopClues CEO.
Launched in July 2011, ShopClues is the Indian subsidiary of the US-based Clues Network Inc and has raised around $25 million until now: $10 million from Helion Venture Partners, Nexus Partners and Netprice.com CEO Teruhide Sato in March 2013, $15 million across multiple funding rounds including a $4 million Series A funding in September 2012, and more than $2 million angel funding from unknown International angel investors in December 2011.