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SEC Charges Former Executive at Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. with Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged Coca-Cola Enterprises’s (“CCE”) former Vice President with insider trading.  The SEC complaint alleges that the Defendant had access to sensitive non-public information, including CCE’s proposed acquisition of The Coca-Cola Company’s Norwegian and Swedish bottling operations.

In the complaint, The Coca-Cola Company (“CCC”) is defined as a licensor, marketer, producer and distributor of various non-alcoholic beverage brands.  CCE is described as a marketer, producer, and distributor of CCC beverage products.

The SEC alleged that in early January 2010, the Defendant learned that CCE was considering the acquisition of CCC’s Norwegian and Swedish bottling operations.  Pursuant to CCE’s internal policies, on January 8, 2010 Defendant signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement that required him to maintain the confidentiality of any non-public information he learned about the transaction.  Additionally, the complaint states, that on February 16, 2010, CCE’s legal counsel sent an email to Defendant advising him that he was subject to a black-out period relating to the transaction at issue.

The complaint goes on to state that on February 18, 2010, Defendant was part of an internal CCE meeting, categorized as “Strictly Private & Confidential,” which discussed the status of the transaction, including the significant positive growth opportunities for CCE, as well as the fact that the transaction was internally valued at over $800 million.  On February 24, 2010, Defendant allegedly purchased 15,000 shares of CCE stock at $19.30 per share, in his wife’s TD Ameritrade brokerage account.  The next day, Defendant’s CCE position was allegedly sold at approximately $25.09 per share, enabling the Defendant to make an illicit $86,850 profit.

On September 16, 2010, Defendant was terminated by CCE in connection with his trades.  The SEC charged Defendant with violations of Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rules 10b-5(a) and (c) thereunder.