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Ex-Nvidia man coughs to insider trading charge

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Former Nvidia staffer Manu Shrivastava, who was fingered last August by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the San Francisco District Attorney's office for alleged insider trading, yesterday pleaded guilty to the crime.

Shrivastava, 31, was charged last summer with profiting from inside knowledge of Microsoft's plan to hand the Xbox graphics development contract to Nvidia.

The SEC said Shrivastava paid $30,825 for Nvidia stock options, acquired after he found out about the Microsoft deal from internal emails but before the alliance had been announced publicly. When the X-box deal was announced, the options became worth $446,000, an increase of well over one thousand per cent.

Shrivastava's guilty plea follows an arrangement with the San Francisco DA and, we assume, the SEC. His profits from the stock sale will be seized by the US government, he agreed.

Sentencing will take place on 28 February 2001. Shrivastava faces up to 15 years in prison and fines of $500,000, though the latter may have been waived through his plea bargain. He also faces a civil action brought separately by the SEC. ®

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