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Tottenham owner Joe Lewis has been indicted in New York for “orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme”, a US attorney said.

Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a video released by his office: “Today I’m announcing that my office, the Southern District of New York, has indicted Joe Lewis, the British billionaire, for orchestrating a brazen insider trading scheme.

“We allege that for years Joe Lewis abused his access to corporate boardrooms and repeatedly provided inside information to his romantic partners, his personal assistants, his private pilots and his friends.

“Those folks then traded on that inside information and made millions of dollars in the stock market, because thanks to Lewis those bets were a sure thing.”

Mr Williams described Lewis’s behaviour as “classic corporate corruption”.

He said: “Now, none of this was necessary. Joe Lewis is a wealthy man. But as we allege, he used inside information as a way to compensate his employees or to shower gifts on his friends and lovers.

“That’s classic corporate corruption. It’s cheating, and it’s against the law. Laws that apply to everyone, no matter who you are.

“That’s why Joe Lewis has been indicted and will face justice here in the Southern District of New York.”

Lewis, 86, is the founder and primary investor of Bahamas-based investment firm Tavistock Group.

He bought a controlling stake in the Premier League club from Lord Sugar in 2001 for £22million.