The Securities and Exchange Commission recently filed suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that defendants, Juan Cruz Bilbao Hormaeche and Thomas Andres Hurtado Rourke, both Chilean citizens, illegally traded on material non-public information that Abbott Laboratories was interested in purchasing CFR Pharmaceuticals, S.A., a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Chile.

According to the complaint, on March 10, 2014, CFR’s Board of Directors met to consider Abbott’s offer to purchase CFR; Bilbao, then a member of the board, participated by telephone. After the meeting, between March 12, 2014 and May 7, 2014, Bilbao allegedly directed his business associate, Hurtado, to place trades purchasing more than $14 million in American Depository Shares (ADSs) of CFR in a US brokerage account maintained in the name of a British Virgin Islands company for the benefit of Bilbao. The SEC further alleges that based on knowledge of confidential information, Hurtado purchased 35,000 ADSs of CFR for $707,710. On May 16, 2014, Abbott announced a definitive agreement to acquire CFR, and on September 23, 2014, Abbott completed the tender offer. According to the SEC, Bilbao tendered his ADSs to Abbott on or before September 23, 2014, and saw a profit of more than $10.1 million. The SEC further alleges Hurtado tendered his ADSs to Abbott for a profit of about $495,000.

The SEC sued defendants for illegally trading on insider information. The SEC alleges that the nexus to the United States is the initial purchase of the ADSs through US-based brokerage accounts. The SEC seeks an order freezing defendants’ assets, an order requiring defendants to repatriate funds obtained from the alleged illegal activities, a final judgment that defendants violated the securities laws, and an order directing defendants to disgorge any illegal gains and to pay civil penalties.

Complaint, SEC v. Hormaeche, No. 14-cv-10036-RJS (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 22, 2014).