Friday, March 29, 2013
The SEC announced that a Chinese businessman and his wife whose trading accounts were frozen last year as part of an insider trading case have agreed to settle charges that they loaded up on the securities of Nexen Inc. while in possession of nonpublic information about an impending announcement that the company was being acquired by China-based CNOOC Ltd.
The SEC obtained an emergency court order in July 2012 to freeze multiple Hong Kong and Singapore-based trading accounts just days after the Nexen acquisition was announced and suspicious trading in Nexen stock was detected. The SEC’s complaint alleged that in the days leading up to the announcement, Hong Kong-based firm Well Advantage Limited and other unknown traders purchased Nexen stock based on confidential details about the acquisition.
The SEC’s investigation has identified Ren Feng and his wife Zeng Huiyu as previously unknown traders charged in the complaint as well as Ren’s private investment company CT Prime Assets Limited and four of Zeng’s brokerage customers on whose behalf she traded. They made a combined $2.3 million in illegal profits from Nexen stock trades made by Ren and Zeng.
The settlement, which is subject to court approval, requires the traders to pay more than $3.3 million combined.
In October 2012, the SEC announced a settlement with Well Advantage, which agreed to pay more than $14.2 million to settle the insider trading charges. U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the Southern District of New York approved that settlement.