RPT-SAC Capital puts manager Steinberg on leave from hedge fund

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By Katya Wachtel

NEW YORK, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Steven Cohen's $14 billion hedge fund, SAC Capital Advisors, has put long-time portfolio manager Michael Steinberg on leave after his name emerged in a sweeping government investigation into insider trading, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Steinberg was placed on leave last week, according to the person after court documents indicated he is an unindicted co-conspirator in a $62 million insider-trading case involving former SAC technology sector analyst Jon Horvath.

Horvath, who worked as a tech analyst at the Sigma Capital Management unit of SAC between 2006 and 2011, pleaded guilty on Friday to charges of insider trading in Manhattan federal court and agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors in their probe.

Horvath said he obtained non-public information on the earnings of Dell Inc and Nvidia Corp that he then shared with his manager. He did not identify the manager by name.

Reuters reported in January that Horvath's supervisor was Michael Steinberg, who joined SAC Capital in 1997.

"In each instance I gave the information to the portfolio manager I worked for and we executed trades based on that information," Horvath said in plea proceedings.

Steinberg has not been publicly accused of wrongdoing.

Horvath is the fourth person once associated with Steve Cohen's hedge fund to be implicated or criminally or civilly charged with insider trading. Neither SAC nor its founder Cohen have also been accused of any wrongdoing.

A representative for SAC Capital declined to comment. Steinberg's lawyer, Barry Berke, declined to comment. A person answering the phone at SAC Capital's offices said Steinberg was not available.

News Steinberg has been put on leave was first reported by Bloomberg News.

Federal prosecutors announced the case against Horvath and three others in January.

The case is one of many that federal prosecutors are pursuing as part of a broad probe dubbed "Operation Perfect Hedge," in which scores of traders, hedge fund managers, lawyers and consultants are alleged to have engaged in insider trading. Many have pleaded guilty or been convicted at trial in the past four years.

Horvath told U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan that he obtained Dell and Nvidia secrets from employees of the companies before public announcements of their earnings in 2008 and 2009 and then passed that information to his portfolio manager.

(Reporting By Katya Wachtel; Editing by Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein)

((Katya.Wachtel@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 6203))