A former portfolio manager who was responsible for investing more than $53 billion in New York state employee retirement funds took more than $100,000 in bribes in exchange for steering more than $2 billion in pension business to two brokers, earning them and their firms millions of dollars in commissions, federal authorities said on Wednesday.
The bribes paid to the former manager, Navnoor Kang, included a $17,000 Panerai watch, a ski trip to Park City, Utah, a trip to New Orleans with a ticket to a Paul McCartney concert, as well as dinners at upscale New York restaurants, tickets to the U.S. Open tennis tournament and Broadway shows. Crack cocaine and cash were also included, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Authorities also accused Kang and the two brokers — Gregg Schonhorn and Deborah Kelley — of agreeing to testify falsely when the Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating the suspected pay-to-play scheme last year, the indictment said.
The charges were to be detailed Wednesday at a news conference by Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, as well as senior officials of the FBI and the SEC.
The fund, officially called the New York State Common Retirement Fund, manages about $184 billion in state employee retirement funds and is overseen by the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli.
DiNapoli said in a statement Wednesday that the fund “has absolutely no tolerance for self-dealing, and we are outraged by Mr. Kang’s shocking betrayal of his responsibilities.”
Kang was fired in February, the comptroller’s office said.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.