Couple settles Nexen insider trading charges for $3.3 mln-SEC

WASHINGTON, March 29 Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:38pm EDT

WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) - U.S. securities regulators on Friday said a Chinese businessman and his wife accused of insider trading in a case involving China-based CNOOC Ltd's successful bid for Canada's Nexen Inc have agreed to settle charges against them for $3.3 million.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said that the couple will settle charges that they stocked up on Nexen shares while possessing non-public information about a pending announcement that the energy company was being acquired by CNOOC Ltd.

CNOOC said in July 2012 that it had agreed to acquire Nexen for $15.1 billion, China's biggest-ever foreign takeover bid. Shares of Nexen jumped almost 52 percent that day.

The SEC got an emergency court order to freeze multiple trading accounts after suspicious trading in Nexen stock was suspected.

The agency's complaint alleged that in the days before the announcement, Hong Kong-based firm Well Advantage Limited and other unknown traders bought Nexen stock based on confidential details about the deal.

That probe identified Ren Feng and his wife, Zeng Huiyu, as previously unknown traders, the SEC said.

The agreement is subject to court approval.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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