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.
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.