UPDATE 1-U.S. judge approves SEC settlement on insider trading of Heinz

miércoles 2 de abril de 2014 17:01 GYT

(Adds SEC statement, judges' reviews of other SEC accords; paragraphs 8 and 15)

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK, April 2 (Reuters) - A federal judge has approved the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's $4.8 million settlement with two Brazilian brothers it accused of insider trading in H.J. Heinz Co, after earlier having questioned why the accord did not include an admission of wrongdoing.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan said the "substantial additional information" provided by the SEC, "the unique circumstances of this case, and further guarantees of prompt payment of the proposed fines" justified approval, according to an order made public on Wednesday.

Rakoff is a leading critic of SEC settlements that say the defendants neither admit nor deny wrongdoing. In 2011, he rejected Citigroup Inc's $285 million fraud settlement with the regulator for that reason.

In the Heinz case, Michel and Rodrigo Terpins will pay $3 million of fines and give up $1.81 million of profit related to their purchase of Heinz stock options one day before Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc and Brazilian private equity firm 3G Capital agreed to buy the ketchup maker.

The SEC said Rodrigo Terpins, who was at the time vacationing at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, bought $90,000 Heinz options based on an illegal tip from his brother.

It said the options were bought through a family-owned Cayman Islands entity, Alpine Swift Ltd, and rose 2,000 percent in value in a single day after the roughly $23.3 billion takeover was announced in February 2013.

Dwight Bostwick, a lawyer for Michel Terpins, and Steve Kaufman, a lawyer for Rodrigo Terpins, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.   Continuación...