Reclusive British billionaire and tax outlaw Joe Lewis, who until recently was the primary owner of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, has pled guilty to charges of insider trading at a federal hearing in New York City today, according to multiple outlets including Bloomberg News and Yahoo Finance. Lewis reportedly said he was “embarrassed” and apologized to the court for his conduct. There is no reporting, yet, as to any punishments, financial or otherwise.
The charges were brought this summer by the Federal District of New York and accuse Lewis of passing confidential information to his friends, pilots, and former lovers. Lewis, who spends much of his time on his mega-yacht and in the Bahamas, was majority owner of ENIC, the company that owns a controlling stake in Tottenham Hotspur, but divested his shares to a holding company under the authority of his daughter before the charges were filed.
As we indicated in July, the club is not expected to face any punishment or sanctions for Lewis’ actions, or his guilty plea as the club is technically no longer under Lewis’ authority and the charges against him do not have anything to do with the club.
So is this Tottenham news? I dunno. It doesn’t seem to impact the club whatsoever, and whether or not you think it should is immaterial. Lewis is always been a shady figure — “Uncle Joe” mostly made his money shorting the British pound back in the day and has been a figure reviled in UK business circles, and he’s been more than happy to let Daniel Levy, his protegé and Chairman of both the Club and ENIC run Spurs. In short he’s always been a pretty sketchy dude, but as far as billionaire owners of football clubs go his involvement in the club has been essentially benign. That’s about as good as we ever could’ve hoped for in a world where other London clubs were owned by Russian billionaires and the sovereign wealth funds of nations who regularly juiced the system.
Whatever. I sure hope this is the last time I have to write about this story, or think too hard about Joe Lewis.