Steve Cohen's SAC Capital is being sued again over allegations that the big hedge fund and other traders allegedly engaged in a scheme to manipulate and drive down the stock of Fairfax Financial ( FFH). The lawsuit by the Toronto-based insurer is similar to a stock-manipulation lawsuit filed earlier this against SAC Capital by Biovail ( BVF), a Canadian drug company. Fairfax Financial has long been a target of short-sellers, traders who profit when a stock declines. Critics contend the insurer has long boosted its earnings through the use of financial reinsurance contracts -- the kind of questionable insurance policies that landed American International Group ( AIG) in trouble with securities regulators. Financial reinsurance, sometimes called "finite insurance,'' is a type of insurance policy that can be used by an insurer to either burnish its own corporate books or help another company accomplish the same. A copy of the Fairfax lawsuit was not immediately available. But a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit in New Jersey state court says Fairfax is seeking "$5 billion in damages from a number of defendants who, the complaint alleges, participated in a stock market manipulation scheme involving Fairfax shares.'' SAC says the "the allegations are without merit and SAC will defend itself vigorously.'' Besides SAC Capital, the lawsuit also names other prominent hedge funds as defendants, including Lone Pine Capital, Daniel Loeb's Third Point and Rocker Partners, the New Jersey hedge fund led by David Rocker. Rocker, who has said he is retiring from the hedge fund business, used to be a major shareholder in TheStreet.com Inc. ( TSCM), the publisher of this Web site. Rocker has sold at least some of his stock in TheStreet.com. The lawsuit also names Cohen, Loeb and Rocker as individual defendants. A spokesman for Fairfax could not be reached for comment.
Also named as a defendant in the complaint is John Gwynn, an insurance analyst with Morgan Keegan. Gwynn, a frequent Fairfax critic, has questioned the company's earnings and contends the company's debt offerings suggest it is effectively out of cash. In the Biovail suit, the drug manufacturer alleged that SAC Capital and other hedge funds conspired with a group of research analysts to drive down the company's stock. The lawsuit alleges that the analysts coordinated their critical research reports with short sales placed by the hedge funds. Shares of Fairfax closed Wednesday at $115.25, down $2.96, or 2.5%.