| NEW YORK, Sept 17
NEW YORK, Sept 17 A Cayman Islands entity at the
center of a U.S. investigation into possible insider trading in
ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co said trades placed in its Swiss bank
account were done by someone without permission.
The filing by Alpine Swift Ltd late on Monday deepened a
mystery over who placed an options trade that resulted in more
than $1.7 million in profits in the run up to Heinz's February
announcement that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc
and Brazil's 3G Capital would buy it.f
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued unknown
traders over the suspicious trading in February. Soon after, a
federal judge froze the assets at a bank account at Goldman
Sachs & Co in Switzerland.
The filings came in connection with a motion by Alpine to
dismiss the case.
A lawyer for Alpine Swift, an investment holding company,
became the first person to appear for the defense in the case
Alpine Swift said it owned the bank account in court
filings, but it also said the trade was done by someone who
lacked permission to make the trade.
"In fact, the trade was not authorized," Alpine's lawyers
wrote. "It was placed by an individual who had no authority to
place trades in Alpine's account."
Alpine did not name the individual in its filings. A lawyer
for Alpine, Juan Morillo of the global law firm Cleary Gottlieb
Steen & Hamilton, did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Tuesday.
The court filings also gave a view into the complex
corporate structure behind Alpine, which has links to Brazil,
where 3G Capital is based.
Alpine said it was established in 2010 and has a single
shareholder, a discretionary trust called the Troika Trust. The
trust was formed under Cayman Islands laws and its sole purpose
is "succession planning," the filings said.
An unnamed independent investment adviser, whose sole
director is a Brazilian citizen, has full responsibility for
investing the assets Alpine holds for the trust, the court
Alpine said its beneficiaries are Cayman Island companies
wholly owned by another unnamed Brazilian citizen. The Brazilian
has no authority to withdraw funds or place trades, Alpine said.
In the court filings, Alpine said it didn't know about the
Heinz trading until after the SEC filed its lawsuit. The company
said Goldman told it that on Feb. 13, someone instructed the
bank to buy 2,533 call options in Heinz via Alpine's account.
"This individual did not have a power of attorney or other
authority to place transactions in Alpine's account and placed
the Heinz Transaction without Alpine's knowledge," Alpine's
The SEC's lawsuit, filed on Feb. 15, said traders bought
call options that climbed 1,700 percent after the formal
announcement of the Heinz buyout.
Since filing suit, the SEC has received nearly 800 pages
related to Alpine's Goldman account from the bank and delivered
by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Alpine
The FBI had also said it was investigating the unusual
trading activity, and Goldman Sachs had said it was cooperating
with the SEC. Goldman, which did not immediately respond to a
request for comment on ATuesday, has not been accused of
A spokesman for the SEC declined comment.
The case is Securities and Exchange Commission v. Certain
Unknown Traders in the Securities of H.J. Heinz Co, U.S.
District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-01080.