FINRA barred former Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc. associate Jonathan Kohanof of Los Angeles, California for untruthful testimony during an investigation into allegations of insider trading. FINRA's decision states that Kohanof admitted he provided false information during a telephone interview with investigators.
The investigation states that in April 2011 and on the advice of his cousin, Kohanof invested over $12,000 in Volcom, Inc., a sports and athletic apparel company. Less than one month later, firm PPR acquired Volcom at $24.50 a share, which effectively increased Volcom's share price by 24% over the previous day's closing price.
During FINRA's Office of Fraud Detection and Market Intelligence's investigation of the stock price spike, investigators flagged Kohanof's trading activity for further review since it was made during a period when material, nonpublic information about the merger existed.
The Fraud office's investigation determined that Kohanof's cousin had a personal relationship with one of the lawyers that was involved with the merger and who carried around binders containing documents related to the merger. The investigation also determined that Kohanof's cousin, the lawyer and two unidentified people took a weekend trip to Las Vegas the weekend of April 8-10, 2011, which was just days before Kohanof spent $12,000 to purchase Volcom, Inc. stock.
The findings state that when the office interviewed Kohanof, he denied speaking with anyone before deciding to purchase Volcom stock and initially denied taking any trips in April 2011. An office staffer claims that when asked specifically about Las Vegas on April 8-10, Kohanof "stuttered a little bit" before admitting that he was one of the two unidentified people that visited Las Vegas that weekend and that his cousin might have been there, though Kohanof denied meeting the lawyer.
FINRA subsequently requested Kohanof's former employer Houlihan to turn over files related to Kohanof's employment, including Kohanof's Outlook e-mail contacts, which was synchronized with his telephone contact list.
The investigation states that the Outlook contacts included the name and phone number of the lawyer Kohanof denied having met. The investigation also states that Kohanof, aware of FINRA's investigation, deleted the lawyer's name and number from his contacts list. FINRA believes that when Kohanof realized that deleting the lawyer's contact info could be construed as "an attempt to conceal information from FINRA," he chose to restore the contact information.
Because of Kohanof's "intentional" untruthful conduct, FINRA barred him from the industry.
If you have invested with Jonathan Kohanof, Houlihan Lokey Capital, or with any broker, advisor or firm whose inappropriate use of material nonpublic or confidential information, insider trading or other unethical and/or illegal conduct has proven harmful to your investments or interests, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan W. Evans & Associates at (800) 699-1881 for investigation and consultation.