SEC Charges Former InterMune Exec With Insider Trading


On Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged a former vice president of finance, accounting officer, and controller of InterMune with insider trading.

In a press release, the SEC described how Bruce W. Tomlinson "tipped" his friend and former business associate, Michael Sarkesian, on the improving prospects of InterMune's Esbriet drug to win approval from the European Union's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, or CHMP.

Hearing the good news, Sarkesian allegedly bought 400 out-of-the-money call options on InterMune common stock ahead of CHMP's rendering a positive opinion on Esbriet on Dec. 17, 2010. When the news came out, the call options more than sextupled in value, and the SEC alleges that this gave Sarkesian a $616,000 profit.

As is usual in this kind of announcement, revelation of the SEC's charge against the defendant, and conclusion of the matter, were made simultaneously. In this case, Tomlinson has agreed to:

  • Stop tipping off his friends with inside information.

  • Not take a job as an officer or director of any publicly traded company for a period of five years.

  • Pay a $616,000 civil penalty.

In a previous proceeding, Sarkesian agreed to pay a similar $616,000 penalty as disgorgement of profits. In neither case did the defendants either admit or deny wrongdoing.

The article SEC Charges Former InterMune Exec With Insider Trading originally appeared on

Fool contributor Rich Smith and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.