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SEC: Trader to settle insider-trading charges

WASHINGTON — Regulators say a resident of Thailand agreed to pay $5.2 million to settle civil charges of trading on inside knowledge of a takeover bid for Smithfield Foods Inc. by a big Chinese company.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission outlined the settlement Thursday with Badin Rungruangnavarat, an employee of a Thai plastics company. The SEC accused him in June of making $3.2 million in illegal profit by using knowledge of the proposed Smithfield takeover before it was announced May 29.

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The agency says he bought options and futures contracts on Smithfield stock preceding the announcement and reaped a profit when the stock price rose afterward.

Rungruangnavarat neither admitted to nor denied the allegations.

The SEC said Rungruangnavarat’s possible sources for the confidential information included a Facebook friend who worked at an investment bank that had advised a Thai company considering its own bid for Smithfield.

The US company is the world’s largest pork producer and processor. Its acquisition by Shuanghui International Holdings, China’s biggest meat producer, a deal valued at about $7.1 billion including debt, would be the largest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm.

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