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SEC won’t press Berkshire charges

NEW YORK — The Securities and Exchange Commission has decided not to file insider trading charges against David L. Sokol, a onetime top lieutenant at Berkshire Hathaway, Sokol’s lawyer said Thursday.

Sokol came under scrutiny in 2011 after abruptly resigning as chairman of Berkshire’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings, one of the many holdings of the investment conglomerate run by the billionaire Warren E. Buffett. At the time, Berkshire revealed that Sokol bought shares in Lubrizol, a maker of lubricants that he wanted Buffett to buy. Sokol bought the shares two months before Berkshire announced a $9 billion acquisition of the company. After the deal was announced, the value of his Lubrizol stake rose by $3 million.

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Sokol’s lawyer, Barry Levine, said the SEC informed his client Thursday it had decided not to pursue charges related to the trades.

Levine said he was happy that his client was ‘‘exonerated’’ and that Sokol never acted improperly in the trades. ‘‘He is the paragon of rectitude,’’ said Levine, a partner at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro in Washington.

John Nester, a spokesman for the SEC, declined to comment on Thursday. The agency typically does not comment when it decides not to pursue action in a case. The news was first reported online by The Wall Street Journal.

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