The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) secured a court order Tuesday to freeze the assets of a China-based trader in connection with a probe into market activity related to Qihoo 360 Technology Co., the Wall street Journal reported.
Haijian Luo, chief executive of Chinese online company 4399 Co., is said to have bought about US$700,000 of out-of-the-money call options before news surfaced of a US$9 billion buyout offer for Qihoo.
Luo made more than US$1 million from the bets and requested his brokerage firm transfer more than half of the proceeds to a foreign bank account, the SEC was quoted as saying in a statement.
“The suspicious timing and size of Luo’s trades spurred us to move swiftly to freeze his proceeds and ensure that potentially illegal profits cannot be siphoned out of this account beyond a US court’s jurisdiction while our investigation continues,” the markets regulator said.
Qihoo said on June 17 that it received a buyout offer from a group that includes its chairman at US$77 per American depositary share.
The offer came at a 17 percent premium to the closing price on June 16, and Qihoo shares jumped 6.2 percent following the announcement.
– Contact us at [email protected]