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Former EBay Unit Chief Saridakis Admits Insider Trading

Christopher Saridakis, a former head of a company bought by EBay Inc., pleaded guilty to securities fraud after prosecutors said he tipped friends to the pending 2011 acquisition of the e-commerce business he headed.

Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia charged Saridakis, 45, ex-chief executive officer of the marketing solutions division of GSI Commerce, with insider trading. The criminal charges were announced on the day in April that Saridakis agreed to pay $664,822 to resolve regulatory claims that he tipped friends to the pending takeover.

He to be sentenced on Sept. 19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said today in a statement.

Saridakis provided family members and friends with nonpublic information about EBay’s planned purchase of the company, based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and encouraged them to trade on it, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said last month in a lawsuit.

Saridakis sent text messages to a confidential witness in 2011, causing that person to buy 25,000 shares of GSI stock and make a profit of $260,304, prosecutors said in a criminal complaint. The takeover by San Jose, California-based EBay, the world’s largest online marketplace, occurred later that year.

GSI Commerce was renamed EBay Enterprise after the deal was completed and Saridakis became president of that unit. He has since resigned, the SEC said last month.

Saridakis, who lives in Wilmington, Delaware, faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Saridakis, 2:14-cr-00210, and the SEC lawsuit is SEC v. Saridakis, 2:14-cv-02397, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia).

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