SEC Says ‘Potato,’ ‘Frequent Flier Miles’ Code for Fraud

Yesterday, the SEC charged three men, including a senior investment banker in UBS Securities LLC’s Global Healthcare Group, with participating in an insider trading ring that netted approximately $1 million in illicit profits. The men allegedly used inside information obtained by the UBS banker, Igor Poteroba, about impending transactions involving pharmaceutical companies to trade ahead of at least 11 mergers, acquisitions, and other corporate deals.

In many ways the case is just another example of an investment banker misappropriating nonpublic information, but the SEC was clearly intrigued by the coded emails the defendants used to communicate with each other, and highlighted these emails in its announcement of the case yesterday. Full details are available in this post on my Enforcement Action blog over at Compliance Week.