Court freezes trader’s assets in Smithfield case

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. court has frozen the assets of Thailand trader accused of profiting from advance knowledge of a Chinese company’s plan to acquire Smithfield Foods.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has accused Badin Rungruangnavarat of insider trading, saying he made more than $3 million ahead of the $4.7 billion planned acquisition announced May 29. He bought thousands of options on Smithfield stock and futures contracts in the prior week that would turn profitable when the acquisition was made public, the SEC said.

Smithfield shares rose 29 percent on May 29, closing at $33.35.

The SEC says Rungruangnavarat has a Facebook friend who works at an investment bank who might have been his information source. Rungruangnavarat could not be reached for comment.

The federal court order bars Rungruangnavarat from destroying evidence.

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