Ex-EBay Unit Chief Settles SEC Insider-Trading Case

A former head of a technology company that was acquired by EBay Inc. agreed to pay $664,822 to resolve U.S. regulatory claims that he tipped friends to the pending takeover so they could earn more than $300,000 in illicit profits.

Christopher Saridakis, who was then chief executive officer of the marketing solutions division of GSI Commerce, provided family members and friends with nonpublic information about EBay’s planned acquisition of the company in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and encouraged them to trade on it, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a complaint filed today at federal court in Philadelphia.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today announced criminal charges against Saridakis, who lives in Delaware, the SEC said.

“Although Saridakis’ tips spun a web of illegal trading, some of the downstream tippees substantially assisted in our investigation while others hindered it,” said Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division.

The SEC also filed claims against five traders and entered into a non-prosecution agreement with one other. Those individuals will together pay more than $490,000 in their settlements, the agency said in an e-mailed statement. Saridakis also agreed to an officer-and-director bar, the SEC said.

“Mr. Saridakis accepts responsibility for his actions and regrets any harm he may have caused to family and friends,” Ivan Knauer, a lawyer at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Washington, said in a statement. “He is pleased to have been able to resolve this matter with the SEC.”

Mark Jay Krum, a partner at Diamond McCarthy LLP in New York, who represents Saridakis’s former colleague, Jules Gardner, said Gardner is cooperating in the government’s investigation. He declined further comment.

Lawyers for the other individuals involved in the case didn’t immediately return phone messages seeking comment.

GSI Commerce was renamed EBay Enterprise after the deal was completed in 2011 and Saridakis became president of that unit, the SEC said. He has since resigned, the agency said.

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