John Kerry Heinz Deal: SEC Freezes Bank Account in Zurich Suspected in Insider Trading

On Friday, U.S. regulators obtained an emergency court order allowing them to freeze access to a Swiss bank account suspected of transferring funds obtained via insider trading prior to the announcement of Heinz’s buyout by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

The court order was requested less than 40 hours after the announcement of the $23 billion acquisition by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The account belongs to Zurich-based traders who may have earned as much as $1.7 million for "highly suspicious options trading activity."

Heinz’s stock skyrocketed on Thursday following the announcement of the deal, rising nearly 20% from $60.8 to the takeover price of $72.50. The value of traded call options from a specific Swiss account, however, climbed by about 1,700% at the time the deal was announced.

Sanjay Wadhwa, an SEC regulator from New York, said that the court will enforce any decision to ensure the traders appear in court to explain the deal, which took place the day before the acquisition. He added that any investigation would be complicated by the international nature of the case.

The traders weren’t the only big winners in the deal – recently confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to net hundreds of thousands of dollars through his and his wife's investments in the company. While Secretary Kerry has pledged to divest himself from many of his holdings, Heinz was not one of them, likely due to its good performance. However, a recent ethics form did not mention its shares. Kerry is not suspected in any wrongdoing.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.

Hundreds rally in Times Square to protest Donald Trump’s transgender military ban

“I’m out here to support my trans brothers and sisters who have been serving our military for years and years and years."

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.