SEC sues over suspicious Heinz options trading

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February 16, 2013 8:42 AM EST

Securities regulators on Friday sued unknown traders over suspected insider trading in H.J. Heinz Co call options ahead of the announced buyout of the company.

The lawsuit said the options generated more than $1.7 million in unrealized profit before the ketchup maker on Thursday agreed to a $23 billion buyout by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and private equity firm 3G Capital Partners.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also said it had won an emergency court order to freeze assets in a Zurich, Switzerland-based trading account used to reap the alleged trading profits.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

(Reporting by Bernard Vaughan; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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