A Spanish trader won dismissal of a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit accusing him of insider trading in Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. stock before the Canadian fertilizer company became the target of a $38.6-billion (U.S.) unsolicited takeover.
U.S. District Judge Marvin Aspen in Chicago said the SEC failed to show that Luis Martin Caro Sanchez, 37, had any direct link to an insider, or that his discarded laptop computer contained relevant information about his trades.
The SEC in August, 2010 had accused Sanchez and former Banco Santander SA research analyst Juan Jose Fernandez Garcia of using material nonpublic information in buying Potash call options before that company revealed that it had received and rejected a $38.6-billion takeover bid by BHP Billiton Ltd. BHP-N
Santander had advised BHP on the bid, which Potash disclosed on Aug. 17, 2010. Potash shares rose nearly 26 per cent that day. BHP, an Anglo-Australian mining company, abandoned its bid three months later.
“The SEC theorizes that Sanchez was informed of some unidentified information related to the proposed acquisition, at an unidentified time, by an unidentified insider, and traded on this unidentified information,” the judge wrote. “This chain of speculation does not raise a material issue of fact for consideration by a jury.”