Thai Trader Agrees $5.2m Settlement over Smithfield Insider Trading

10 September 2013, at 9:44am

US - A Bangkok-based trader has agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle charges that he traded on inside information in advance of a public announcement about the proposed acquisition of Smithfield Foods by by Shuanghui International.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission froze the Thai trader’s US brokerage account in June in an emrgency action.

The SEC obtained the asset freeze on June 5 after filing a complaint alleging that Badin Rungruangnavarat made more than $3 million in illicit profits just days earlier by insider trading in Smithfield securities.

Badin loaded up on out-of-the-money Smithfield call options and single-stock futures contracts in the week leading up to a 29 May public announcement about the proposed sale of Smithfield Foods to Shuanghui International Holdings.

Among his possible sources of material, non-public information about the impending deal was a Facebook friend, who was an associate director at the investment bank for a different company that was considering a Smithfield acquisition.

The settlement was approved by Judge Matthew Kennelly of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

“Our quick action in June to stop Badin’s insider trading profits from leaving the U.S. made this multi-million dollar settlement possible,” said Daniel M. Hawke, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Market Abuse Unit.

“Once he was denied access to his trading account, Badin elected to forfeit all of his ill-gotten proceeds plus pay a $2 million penalty to settle the case against him.”

Badin agreed to the entry of a final judgment ordering him to pay $3.2 million in disgorgement and the $2 million penalty.

Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, he agreed to be permanently enjoined from future violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.

The SEC’s investigation was conducted jointly by staff in the Market Abuse Unit and the Chicago Regional Office.