“The timing, size and profitability of the defendants’ trades, as well as the lack of prior history of significant trading in Heinz,” made the transactions “highly suspicious,” the commission said in its complaint, which accuses the unidentified defendants of violating the Exchange Act.
Neither 3G nor any of its employees has been accused of wrongdoing.
The SEC has been increasing its focus on insider trading by overseas buyers of U.S.-traded securities. As of December, the SEC had filed three times as many emergency asset-freeze requests in such cases since 2010 as in the prior two years. The regulator cited suspect trading patterns, typically before mergers or other market-moving news.
The case is U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission v. Certain Unknown Traders in Securities of H.J. Heinz Co., 13-cv- 1080, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).