SEC files suit against unknown traders over Heinz options

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February 16, 2013 8:35 AM EST

U.S. securities regulators on Friday filed suit against unknown traders in the options of ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co , alleging they traded on inside information before the company announced a deal to be acquired for $23 billion by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and Brazil's 3G Capital.

The suit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, cites "highly suspicious trading" in Heinz call options just prior to the February 14 announcement of the deal. It claims the traders are either in, or trading through accounts in, Zurich, Switzerland.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Writing by Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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