September 23, 2009 / 10:30 PM / 10 years ago

SEC sets insider trading charge in Dell-Perot deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged a Texas man with insider trading for reaping $8.64 million of illegal profit related to Dell Inc’s planned purchase of Perot Systems Corp.

According to a complaint filed on Wednesday with the federal court in Dallas, Reza Saleh, 53, bought 9,332 call option contracts on Perot through two TD Ameritrade brokerage accounts between September 4 and September 18, after learning about merger talks through his employment.

The SEC said the Richardson, Texas resident sold the contracts after the $3.9 billion takeover was announced on September 21, resulting in the illicit profit.

Saleh did not immediately return a call seeking to comment. It was not immediately clear whether he had retained a lawyer.

“What’s significant here, clearly, is the amount of money,” said Rose Romero, regional director for the SEC’s office in Fort Worth, Texas, in an interview. “It’s incredible. It’s a lot of money for a single individual to realize.”

The complaint said Saleh is employed by Parkcentral Capital Management LP, and also works for Perot Investments Inc, a private company that has common affiliates with Perot Systems.

Saleh has also performed duties for Perot Systems, and has friends with access to information at all three companies, which are all based in Plano, Texas, the complaint said.

The SEC is seeking a court order to freeze Saleh’s assets, and wants him to give up illicit profits and pay a civil fine.

It also said TD Ameritrade froze Saleh’s accounts following inquiries on the morning of September 21 from SEC staff.

A TD Ameritrade spokeswoman declined to comment.

Dell, the world’s second-largest personal computer maker, agreed to pay a 67.5 percent premium for Perot to expand in technology services and compete better with Hewlett-Packard Co.

Perot Systems was founded by former U.S. presidential candidate Ross Perot.

The case is SEC v. Saleh, U.S. District Court, Northern Distirct of Texas (Dallas), No. 09-1778.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Additional reporting by Emily Chasan and Jonathan Spicer, editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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