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Lorenz Erne Swiss pharma executive gets US sanction for insider trading  

Roche tower in Basel

The culprit was a head of strategy at Roche, which is headquartered in Switzerland at the Roche tower in Basel. 

(Keystone)

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fined Lorenz Erne, a former senior executive at Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche, for insider trading and ordered him to pay back the ill-gotten profits. 

Erne accepted the accusations and agreed to the terms of a settlement with the SEC, according to an SEC documentexternal link published on Thursday. He has to pay back $159,228 (CHF156,000) plus a fine of $79,614 within 14 days to the SEC “for transfer to the general fund of the United States Treasury”. 

The case concerns insider trading in the shares of American gene therapy company Spark Therapeutics ahead of a February 25, 2019, announcement that a Roche affiliate company and Spark had reached a merger agreement.  

Erne “traded while in possession of material, non-public information that he learned in the course of his employment at Hoffmann-La Roche”, making profits as Spark shares rose by 120%. 

At the time of the trading, Erne was head of the Strategy Office at Roche Global Technical Operations in the Pharmaceuticals Division. 

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