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Steve Cohen's ex-wife asks to file new lawsuit

BOSTON (Reuters) - Hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen's ex-wife asked on Thursday to file a slimmed-down lawsuit that would bring fewer charges in their long-running battle over her claims he hid assets from her when they split.

Patricia Cohen asked a federal judge for permission to file an amended suit in which she claims that her former husband hid from her the $5.5 million in profits he made in a real estate deal. She is now asking for half of that amount to be paid to her, according to legal documents.

While Patricia Cohen is still accusing her former husband of having run a racketeering scheme and having made $10 million on illegal stock bets based on inside information, she dropped some of the other claims she first made when the suit was originally filed in December 2009.

With the help of a new lawyer -- her third in the matter -- Patricia Cohen is no longer contending that Steven cheated her out of a piece of his $12 billion hedge fund firm, SAC Capital Advisors. She is still charging, however, that Cohen conducted mail and wire fraud and lied to her about his assets.

"Mr Cohen's former spouse's third attorney in seven months is recycling outlandish claims brought by her prior attorneys, both of whom have withdrawn. These baseless allegations are simply an attempt to extort Mr Cohen. We have a motion to dismiss pending and look forward to a prompt resolution," Steven Cohen's spokesman said in a statement.

Patricia Cohen also condensed the list of defendants, charging only her former husband; his brother, Donald; and Brett Lurie, a real estate operator later convicted of fraud. She dropped Gruntal & Co, where Steven Cohen once worked, and SAC Capital Advisors as defendants.

"This complaint is written very carefully and very tightly," Howard Foster, her new lawyer, said.

She is suing under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and if she were to win the case, the sum she is asking for would be tripled under the statute, Foster said. She is also asking for prejudgment interest on the money.

Cohen's first lawyer, Paul Batista, has sued his ex-client and her second lawyer, Gaytri Kachroo, seeking to place a lien on any monetary judgment she receives from the lawsuit.

Cohen switched lawyers again in June.

The lawsuit filed by Patricia Cohen is called Cohen v. Cohen, 09 CV 10230.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Gary Hill)

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