Warren Buffett’s takeover of Heinz, the American food giant, is at the centre of an insider-trading case after regulators filed suit against unknown traders operating via a Swiss account who they allege had placed bullish bets on the ketchup maker on the basis of privileged information.
The account in question is a Goldman Sachs customer account.
Mr Buffett and the private-equity group 3G Capital went public with their $28bn buyout of Heinz on Thursday. But the day before, unidentified traders who are either based, or trading via accounts, in Zurich, Switzerland, made a series of bets that Heinz’s shares would rise.
According to the complaint filed in a Federal Court in New York, which is meant to stop the traders taking the money they made by making the bets when the shares skyrocketed on Thursday by freezing the assets, the account was in the name of GS Bank IC Buy Open List Options GS & c/o Zurich. Last night, Goldman Sachs, which is not accused in the filing, said it was co-operating with the Securities Exchange Commission, the US market regulator.