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SEC Sees $683,000|in Inside Trading

MANHATTAN (CN) - A financial analyst at Merck tipped a business school buddy to inside information about a pharmaceutical merger and his pal made $683,000 from it, the SEC claimed in court Tuesday.

The SEC sued Zachary Zwerko, 32, of Cambridge, Mass., in Federal Court.

The complaint says Zwerko worked for "a major pharmaceutical company" with the SEC calls "Pharma Co.", but publicly available information shows, and wire services report, that Zwerko worked for Merck.

The SEC claims that Zwerko misappropriated inside information and passed it along to his friend, a trader, at least twice: Merck's June acquisition of Idenix for $24.50 a share, and Merck's April 2012 bidding for Ardea, an acquisition that was won by AstraZeneca.

"After receiving this information, the trader traded prior to the public announcements of the acquisitions and made over $683,000 of illicit profits," the SEC says in the complaint.

Zwerko left "Pharma Co." in July, the SEC said.

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