Greed never ends: Insider trading on Dell deal

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Insider trading is no longer very difficult to track. The stock exchanges and SEC use extensive monitoring systems driven by complex software to look at huge numbers of transactions each day, searching for anomalies and patterns that are out of the ordinary. In a huge M&A transaction like the Dell (DELL) takeover of Perot Systems (PER) there is likely to be an especially high level of vigilance.

It is, under these circumstances, remarkable that insider trading may have taken place; Reza Saleh, who works for Perot, made a $3.9 million profit on the announcement. The SEC is bringing charges against him, as well as two other companies that had knowledge about the buy-out. TD Ameritrade, Saleh's broker, has frozen his assets.

While greed abounds, so does stupidity. It is incomprehensible that an individual trader could believe that a transaction worth millions of dollars would go undetected. In this case the SEC gets an easy "win" and some much-needed good PR, and Saleh probably gets nice long stay in a white-collar prison.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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