Billionaire Phillip Frost Ready to Settle SEC Charges for $5.5M

Billionaire Phillip Frost has agreed to settle SEC charges and pay $5.5 million. According to the US regulator, he was part of a group of fraudsters that manipulated stock prices.

Biotech billionaire Phillip Frost has agreed to settle the charges levied by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to CNBC. The former chairman of Israel-based pharma giant Teva became the defendant in a civil case that centered on “lucrative market manipulation schemes” worth $27 million, as stated back in September 2018. Frost, who is currently the CEO and chairman of Miami-based Opko Health, has not admitted or denied the charges under the settlement.

Thus, the 84-year-old billionaire is about to pay $5.5 million and will be banned from taking part in offerings of penny stocks (shares of small public companies), with certain exceptions. The proposed settlement is still awaiting court approval.

The SEC suspects that a group of fraudsters led by Barry Honig, formerly the largest shareholder in Riot Blockchain, conducted pump-and-dump schemes with the stock of three companies, with Frost allegedly participating in two of them. Opko Health, Frost Gamma Investments (where Frost is the trustee), and he himself were among a group of 10 people and 10 related entities investigated by the SEC.

Among the accused was John O'Rourke, previously the CEO of Riot Blockchain. However, Riot itself is not charged by the US regulator. Nonetheless, O'Rourke stepped down in September as CEO and chairman because of the SEC investigations and was replaced by Chris Ensey.

Opko Health and Frost Gamma also agreed to settle the charges, with Opko paying $100,000.

“We have reached agreement with the SEC that will end a potentially expensive, contentious and time-consuming litigation and I am happy that we can focus on an exciting and productive 2019 for OPKO Health,” Frost was cited as saying in an Opko statement.

He will retain his leadership positions at the company.

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