WASHINGTON, March 29 A Chinese businessman and
his wife agreed to settle insider trading charges for $3.3
million in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission probe into
the $15.1 billion takeover of Canada's Nexen Inc.
The securities regulator said that the couple stocked up on
Nexen shares knowing that the energy company was about to be
acquired by state-owned energy company CNOOC Ltd in
July, China's biggest-ever takeover.
Nexen stock jumped almost 52 percent on the announcement
CNOOC had agreed to acquire the company, but the SEC soon got an
emergency court order to freeze several trading accounts after
it saw suspicious activity in the shares.
In October, Hong Kong-based Well Advantage Limited settled
charges of $14 million with the SEC, paying back illegal profits
made on the trades plus a penalty worth the same amount.
That was followed by the departure of Zhang Zhirong from the
helm of China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group, who
owned Well Advantage. Rongsheng has a strategic cooperation
agreement with CNOOC.
The SEC's probe had now identified Ren Feng and his wife
Zeng Huiyu as previously unknown traders charged in the
complaint, the watchdog said.
The agreement is subject to court approval. The defendants
neither admit nor deny the SEC's allegations.