The agency said Friday it was moving to freeze a Swiss bank account used for trading just before the announcement that investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway company and 3G agreed to buy Heinz in a deal reported to be worth $28 billion, The Hill reported.
A court in Manhattan granted the request for the freeze.
"Irregular and highly suspicious options trading immediately in front of a merger or acquisition announcement is a serious red flag that traders may be improperly acting on confidential nonpublic information," Daniel M. Hawke, chief of the SEC Division of Enforcement's Market Abuse Unit, said in a statement.
Investigators say there had been little activity in the Swiss account for at least six months but options purchases were made that earned a $1.7 million profit shortly before the announcement of the acquisition.
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