Ex-FBI intern charged with insider trading before Merck-Pandion takeover – Endpoints News

Working from home presents unique challenges. Just ask any attorney who represented Merck in its $1.85 billion takeover of Pandion.

A former FBI intern has been charged with insider trading over the profits he made from buying Pandion stock based on inside information about the Merck acquisition – which he allegedly learned while working at home with a “romantic partner”, who also happened to be an associate at a law firm representing Merck.

In the wake of the pandemic, Seth Markin, a 31-year-old man from Pennsylvania, frequently stayed at his partner’s apartment last January and February, around the same time Merck completed its due diligence and filed a Pandion takeover proposal. At the end of January, his partner was commissioned to work on the draft agreement.

Markin was present in the apartment for work-related calls and — while his partner wasn’t watching — he allegedly went through a filing cabinet containing confidential information about the deal, according to an SEC complaint.

The day after his partner was assigned to the Merck case, Markin reportedly began buying Pandion stock. The SEC also accused him of tipping off a friend, Brandon Wong, 38, a resident of New York. On February 23, 2021 – two days before the deal was publicly announced – Markin had purchased 2,270 Pandion shares.

Wong, who communicated with Markin using an encrypted messaging app, bought 35,382 Pandion shares. Markin and Wong also reportedly tipped off other people, according to the SEC.

After the deal was publicly announced and Pandion’s stock price soared over 133%, Markin and Wong made approximately $82,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, in what the SEC calls illegal profits.

Merck announced on February 25 that it would pay $1.85 billion to take over Pandion and its portfolio of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to treat a range of autoimmune diseases. This included lead candidate IL-2 for ulcerative colitis PT101, which won a Phase Ia earlier that year. Pandion rejected two offers for Merck in recent years before finally accepting the last one.

After the deal was announced, Wong reportedly bought Markin a Rolex as a thank you and paid for some of his expenses while on a trip to Hawaii.

The case is part of a series of insider charges the SEC brought Monday against nine people in three separate alleged schemes.

“If ordinary investors think the market is rigged at their expense in favor of insiders abusing their positions, they will not invest their hard-earned money in the markets,” said Gurbir Grewal, director of the division of the SEC enforcement, in a statement. statement.

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