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Former New York State Common manager admits taking bribes

A former portfolio manager of the $197.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, admitted he accepted gifts that included luxury watches and tickets to concerts in exchange for steering state business to brokerages.

Navnoor Kang pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. According to federal sentencing guidelines, he could get more than 21 years in prison. Judges aren't required to follow the guidelines in handing down a sentence.

Mr. Kang's lawyer, Tina Glandian, said Mr. Kang was "tremendously successful" working at the fund but realized he had a duty to disclose the gifts.

"He felt it was the right thing to do, accepting responsibility," Ms. Glandian said.

Deborah Kelley, a former managing director at Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc., pleaded guilty in May to a single count of conspiracy for spending more than $19,000 to entertain Mr. Kang with a vacation in New Orleans that included VIP seats to a Paul McCartney concert and a ski trip in Park City, Utah. She was sentenced to three years' probation.

Another broker, Gregg Schonhorn, who was accused of bribing Mr. Kang with cocaine, prostitutes, luxury travel and a $17,400 Panerai watch, pleaded guilty in December and agreed to cooperate with authorities.