Barclays Bank PLC and a former proprietary trader for Barclays’ U.S. Distressed Debt Desk agreed to pay a total of $11.69 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges they traded on inside information received while on the creditors committees for six bankrupt companies. Neither admitted or denied the SEC’s claims.
The SEC filed an action in a U.S. District Court in New York claiming the bank and its former agent illegally traded millions of dollars of bond securities while aware of material nonpublic information received through six bankruptcy creditors committees. The six bankrupt debtors were Galey & Lord Inc., Pueblo Xtra International Inc., Desa International Inc., Archibald Candy Corp., Conseco Inc., and United Airlines.
The SEC charged that, for example, the defendants made 82 illegal trades in notes and other securities of United Airlines. In some instances “big boy letters” were issued, but neither Barclays nor its trader ever revealed the inside information to the counterparties, according to the SEC. (A “big boy letter” is an agreement in which the buyer of securities agrees not to sue the seller while acknowledging the seller may possess confidential information the buyer does not have.)
Barclays consented to pay disgorgement of $3,971,736, prejudgment interest of $971,825, and a civil fine of $6,000,000. Its agent paid a fine of $750,000. Both also agreed to be permanently enjoined from violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.
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