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SEC Freezes Trader Assets in Probe of Cnooc’s Nexen Bid

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a court order to freeze assets of traders who allegedly reaped more than $13 million by trading illegally ahead of Cnooc Ltd.’s announcement that it would buy Nexen Inc.

Hong Kong-based Well Advantage Limited, controlled by Zhang Zhirong, and other unidentified traders stockpiled shares of Nexen based on confidential information about the deal, the SEC said in a July 27 statement announcing a complaint filed at federal court in Manhattan. The court order froze about $38 million in assets, the SEC said.