First Arrest in SEC Insider Trading Probe: Don Chu of Primary Global Research

First Arrest in SEC Insider Trading Probe
First Arrest in SEC Insider Trading Probe

The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Don Chu, an expert on Asian markets for Primary Global Research, on Wednesday, setting the tone for the Security and Exchange Commission's crackdown on insider trading.

According to a statement from the Justice Department, Chu was charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with securities for arranging for information about public companies to be passed to hedge funds. Chu could spend a maximum of 30 years in prison and be fined twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

The statement said that Chu was "conspiring to promote his firm's consultation services by arranging for insiders at publicly-traded companies to provide material, nonpublic information to the firm's hedge fund clients for the purpose of executing profitable securities transactions."

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The complaint alleges that Chu arranged the delivery of information on the quarterly earnings of a publicly-traded technology company to one of PGR's hedge fund clients. An employee of the tech company revealed its revenue numbers, average sales prices, unit sales for different product lines, gross margin figures, and revenue forecasts to the hedge fund prior to the tech company's publicly announcing its quarterly report. The names of the hedge fund that received the information and the company supplying it were not revealed.

Chu was nabbed in advance of a scheduled flight to Taiwan on Nov. 28.

The arrest follows FBI raids on the offices of hedge funds Level Global Investors in New York, Loch Capital Management in Boston, and Diamondback Capital Management in Stamford, Conn., on Monday. Some on Wall Street say the SEC's targeting of analysts may be a bit too aggressive.