* Buffet said Sokol violated Berkshire Hathaway's insider
* Sokol once seen as contender for top job at Berkshire
* SEC completed probe into Sokol's investment in Lubrizol -
By Sakthi Prasad
Jan 3 The U.S. securities regulator has decided
not to take action against David Sokol, once considered a
possible candidate for the top job at Warren Buffett's Berkshire
Hathaway Inc, Sokol's lawyer told Reuters.
In 2011, Buffett said Sokol violated the company's insider
trading rules to score a $3 million windfall profit on shares of
U.S. chemicals maker Lubrizol, which rose by nearly a third
after Berkshire Hathaway announced it would buy the company.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began
investigating Sokol's investment in Lubrizol shortly after Sokol
resigned from Berkshire Hathaway.
Sokol's lawyer Barry Wm. Levine told Reuters late on
Thursday that he was informed that the SEC had wrapped up its
probe and decided not to take action against Sokol.
"SEC has terminated its investigation and has concluded not
to bring any proceedings against Sokol," said Levine, a lawyer
at legal firm Dickstein Shapiro.
Sokol has been "completely cleared" as there was no evidence
against his client, Levine said.
Berkshire Hathaway and SEC could not immediately be reached
for comment by Reuters outside of regular U.S. business hours.
Buffett surprised many when he said Sokol had violated
insider trading rules by failing to disclose his purchase of
Lubrizol shares, less than four weeks after starting talks with
Citigroup Inc bankers on acquiring all the shares in the
chemicals company that Berkshire Hathaway did not already own.
Sokol, who once chaired Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican
Energy unit, ran its NetJets plane leasing unit, and was a top
Warren Buffett deal maker. He was considered a leading contender
to succeed Buffett as Berkshire Hathaway's chief executive.
Buffett told investors last year that Berkshire Hathaway's
board has identified his successor, easing some shareholder
concern about the future of the company once the famed investor
steps down as chief executive.
Buffett, however, did not disclose who the next CEO will be
in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders last