A Wall Street hedge fund manager apparently slashed his own throat with a kitchen knife days after he was charged with involvement in a $32m (£22m) insider trading scheme, police have said. Sanjay Valvani, a portfolio manager at Visium Asset Management, was found dead on the bedroom floor of his New York apartment by his wife on Monday 20 June.
The suspected suicide comes just days after the 44-year-old was indicted on charges that he ran an illegal investment scam for six years. Only last week Valvani turned himself into police after being accused of a scheme that was said to rely on secret insider information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It was alleged that information pertaining to new drugs that were about to get approved were passed onto fund managers. The fund was shut down on Friday 17 June.
Valvani was facing a custodial sentence of up to 85 years for charges that included conspiracy to defraud, although convicted insider traders in Manhattan Federal Court are generally handed sentences under 15 years.
According to the New York Post, Valvani's wife found him bleeding on the floor with slashes to his neck and wrists with police recovering a knife and a suicide note at the scene. The note is believed to say he could no longer bear to stay alive after the indictment.
Valvani's lawyer Barry Berke said he was struggling with coming to terms with the charges. He said: "Sanjay Valvani was a loving father, husband, son and brother and committed friend, colleague and mentor. We hope for the sake of his family and his memory that it will not be forgotten that the charges against him were only unproven accusations and he had always maintained his innocence."
Prosecutors say Valvani started the controversial scheme in 2005 to 2011 in conjunction with a former FDA official named as Gordon Johnston. The 64-year-old was also charged and pleaded guilty to passing confidential information to Valvani.
Johnston was said to have told Valvani about the approval of a generic drug called enoxaparin, an anticoagulant used after surgeries. Valvani then bought two pharmaceutical stocks, making for a $25m (£17m) payday.