Swiss companies accused of insider trading in US

Three Swiss firms have been charged with insider trading in the United States following Lonza Group’s recent $1.2 billion (SFr980 million) acquisition of Arch Chemicals.

This content was published on July 19, 2011 minutes and agencies

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said in a statement on Monday that a New York federal judge had granted its request for emergency relief against the companies and froze assets belonging to them pending an injunction hearing.

According to the SEC, the three Swiss-based companies – Compania International Financiera, Coudree Capital Gestion and Chartwell Asset Management Services – purchased more than a million common shares of Arch in the days leading up to the Lonza deal last week.

“Immediately after the acquisition announcement on July 11, the firms began selling the recently-purchased shares of Arch common stock for millions of dollars in profits,” the SEC said.  

The SEC said it believed the companies were in possession of non-public information about Lonza’s proposed acquisition at the time the shares were purchased.

Ira Lee Sorkin, an attorney representing Compania International Financiera and Coudree Capital Gestion, said the two firms are contesting the SEC's allegations. 

A preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled for July 25.

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