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Insider trading alleged in Nexen deal

Oct. 22, 2012 at 8:59 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- A company in Hong Kong agreed to settle allegations it was involved in insider trading in the July proposal by CNOOC to acquire Canada's Nexen, the SEC said.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Well Advantage, a company with headquarters in Hong Kong, agreed to pay more than $14 million to settle insider trading charges filed in July.

"The SEC filed an emergency action against Well Advantage to freeze its assets less than 24 hours after the firm placed an order to liquidate its entire position in Nexen Inc.," the agency stated. "The SEC alleged that Well Advantage had stockpiled shares of Nexen stock based on confidential information that China-based CNOOC Ltd. was about to announce an acquisition of Nexen."

The SEC said Well Advantage, controlled by a Hong Kong tycoon with ties to China National Offshore Oil Corp., sold the Nexen shares for more than $7 million.

CNOOC in July offered to take over Nexen for $15 billion. Around 90 percent of the Nexen shareholders voted in favor of the deal last month.

CNOOC issued a voluntary request to the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment to examine the offer. The U.S. government needs to review the deal because Nexen has operations in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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