Linklaters Associate Is Latest Big Firm Lawyer Tied to Insider Trading Charges

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Somehow, Yan got wind of the deal and chose to try to make some cash with the insider information he'd seen. Yen's wife works for Linklaters, a global law firm involved with the merger. That was the title of an article a MIT postdoctoral associate allegedly read shortly before he used confidential information to buy stock options that federal prosecutors say made him almost $120,000.

The 31-year-old Chinese citizen, arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts, home, was freed on $500,000 bail after appearing in Boston federal court.

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Federal prosecutors in Manhattan accused Mr Yan of trading past year on inside information concerning a planned $2.2 billion purchase of Stillwater Mining by South Africa's Sibanye Gold. Linklaters represented Steinhoff International Holdings NV, which in August 2016 said it was buying Mattress Firm.

Yun also made the choice to put these trades in a "newly-opened brokerage account" that was named after his mother Rongxia Wu, who lives in China.

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And on the day that the merger was announced, Yan immediately sold his Stillwater option contracts - making a profit of $109,700.

Linklaters meanwhile has released a statement, saying: 'We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities on this matter, and the relevant associate has been suspended, pending further investigation, without access to the firm's systems and confidential information'.

Prosecutors say Yan searched "how sec detect unusual trade" before he purchased a number of stocks and options that brought him around $120,000 in illegal revenue.

"Yan attempted to evade detection by researching prior SEC cases against insider traders and using a brokerage account in a different name, but we identified the profitable trades in deals advised by the same law firm and traced them back to him", said Joseph G. Sansone, co-chief of the SEC Enforcement Division's Market Abuse unit.

He now faces three fraud charges: two for securities fraud and one for wire fraud.

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