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February 15, 2013
16:38 EDTHNZSEC freezes assets in Swiss account related to trading ahead of Heinz deal
The Securities and Exchange Commission obtained an emergency court order to freeze assets in a Zurich, Switzerland-based trading account that was used to reap more than $1.7M from trading in advance of yesterdayís public announcement about the acquisition of H.J. Heinz Company (HNZ). In a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the SEC alleges that prior to any public awareness that Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital had agreed to acquire H.J. Heinz in a deal valued at $28B, unknown traders took risky bets that Heinzís stock price would increase. The traders purchased call options the very day before the public announcement. After the announcement, Heinzís stock rose nearly 20% and trading volume increased more than 1,700% from the prior day, placing these traders in a position to profit substantially. The SEC alleges that the unknown traders were in possession of material nonpublic information about the impending acquisition when they purchased out-of-the-money Heinz call options the day before the announcement. Reference Link
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