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MIT scientist's Google search history leads to his arrest for insider trading

Fei Yan allegedly obtained confidential information from his wife

Aatif Sulleyman
Friday 14 July 2017 11:43 BST
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He allegedly searched for an article headlined, 'Want to commit insider trading? Here's how not to do it'
He allegedly searched for an article headlined, 'Want to commit insider trading? Here's how not to do it' (Getty)

A man’s Google search history has led to his arrest on charges of insider trading, reports say.

Fei Yan, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, allegedly searched the web for tips on how to avoid being caught by authorities.

He is alleged to have then used information obtained from his wife, a corporate lawyer, to trade stocks that he ended up earning $120,000 in profit from.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) first identified the trades as suspicious using data analysis, before tracing them back to Mr Yan.

Subsequent investigations found that the 31-year-old had used his computer to conduct a number of incriminating searches, such as, “how sec detect unusual trade” and “insider trading in an international account”, reports CNBC.

He allegedly also searched for an article headlined, “Want to commit insider trading? Here's how not to do it”, according to USA Today.

Mr Yan’s wife has been suspended from Linklaters, the London-based law firm she had been working at.

The trades were allegedly made using confidential information about Steinhoff International Holdings' acquisition of Mattress Firm Holdings, and Sibanye Gold Limited’s acquisition of Stillwater Mining, two deals that took place last year.

Mr Yan bought stocks in Mattress Firm Holdings and Stillwater Mining, and sold them after the acquisitions were made public.

He attempted to cover his tracks by setting up the account under his mother’s name.

Mr Yan has been charged with securities fraud and wire fraud and, following a hearing in federal court in Boston, has been released on a $500,000 unsecured bond.

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