Not kosher: Settlement reached in pork industry insider trading suit

Bangkok man agrees to pay $5.2 million to settle allegations of insider trading in advance of Smithfield Foods’ acquisition

As Porky Pig would say in regard to the insider trading allegations revolving around the recent acquisition of the world’s largest producer of pork, “That’s all, folks!”

A Bangkok man has agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle allegations that he made a large sum of money from a series of shady transactions in advance of the acquisition of Smithfield Foods by a Chinese company.

The SEC contended that Badin Rungruangnavarat made $3.2 million in the days leading up to the May acquisition of Smithfield, the world’s largest producer and processor of pork products, by Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. The $4.7 billion deal jolted Smithfield’s stock, causing it to rise almost 25 percent.

Rungruangnavarat’s activities in the eight days leading up to the deal were deemed not kosher by the SEC, which froze the Thai man’s U.S. assets. The likely source of Rungruangnavarat’s information was a Thai banker who had inside knowledge of the forthcoming acquisition.

The settlement includes forfeiting of the entire sum that Rungruangnavarat gained from his suspicious trades as well as a $2 million penalty, but it does not include an admission of wrongdoing.

Speaking on the settlement, Pravin Rao, one of Rungruangnavarat’s attorneys, said, “We’re pleased that we could reach a mutually agreeable settlement with the SEC so quickly. Our client was able to recover a portion of the frozen assets.”

And for those of us who like a cup of coffee with our pork sandwich, the SEC has us covered. Earlier this summer, the commission accused a former employee of Green Mountain Coffee of insider trading. Chad McGinnis and his friend Sergey Pugach are accused of racking up more than $7 million using inside information.

Some would say that Rungruangnavarat got off easy with his settlement. After all, Miss Piggy probably would have given him a flying karate kick…

Managing Editor

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Rich Steeves

Richard P. Steeves is Managing Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he covers the intellectual property and compliance arenas. Rich earned a B.A. in English Literature...

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