By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON Nov 28 (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators on Wednesday charged the former chief executive of Delta Petroleum Corp with leaking confidential information to a friend about an impending large investment in the company by a well-known private firm.
The Securities and Exchange Commission said that former Delta CEO Roger Parker is the central source of an insider-trading scheme that occurred before the Beverly Hills-based private investment firm Tracinda Corp had agreed to purchase a 35 percent stake in Delta Petroleum.
An attorney for Parker could not immediately be reached for comment.
The SEC's charges against Parker come just one month after the agency charged his friend, insurance executive Michael Van Gilder, for allegedly trading based on the tips he received from Parker.
Van Gilder was also indicted last month on five counts of insider-trading in a parallel criminal case. He pleaded not guilty.
His attorney was out of the country on Wednesday and could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to the SEC, Parker allegedly tipped off Van Gilder and at least one other friend about the upcoming investment by Tracinda. The SEC also claims Parker told Van Gilder about Delta's confidential third quarter 2007 earnings.
All of the various tips helped generate more than $890,000 in illicit profits, the SEC said.
Earlier this month, the Van Gilder Insurance Corporation announced that Van Gilder was taking an "indefinite leave of absence." He also stepped down as CEO of the company.
The SEC is seeking to prohibit Parker from acting as an officer or director of a public company.
The agency is also asking for a judgment ordering Parker and Van Gilder to pay a financial penalty and disgorgement.
The SEC said its investigation is continuing.