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Friday, August 3, 2012 - Page updated at 06:30 p.m.
Drug executive charged over trading in ZymoGenetics
By Seattle Times business staff
A Bristol-Myers Squibb finance executive was arrested Thursday on insider-trading charges involving three corporate deals including the company's 2010 acquisition of ZymoGenetics.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey has charged Robert Ramnarine, Bristol-Myers assistant treasurer for capital markets, with making about $311,361 in illegal profits from trades in ZymoGenetics, Pharmasset and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, according to court documents.
Bristol-Myers announced an agreement to buy Seattle-based ZymoGenetics for about $885 million, or $9.75 a share, on Sept. 7, 2010.
According to an FBI affidavit filed in federal court in New Jersey, Ramnarine learned in August about Bristol-Myers' plan to buy ZymoGenetics. Between Aug. 25 and 27, he bought options on Zymo stock through two brokerages accounts, selling the securities Sept. 8 at a profit of more than $30,000, according to prosecutors.
The affidavit also details alleged insider trading in options of Pharmasset, which Bristol-Myers considered buying but ultimately was acquired by Gilead Pharmaceuticals. While Ramnarine was tasked with conducting due diligence concerning Bristol-Myers' possible acquisition, according to the government, in November 2011 he purchased options that ultimately netted him more than $225,000 in profits.
Some options were purchased "from his office using his work-issued BlackBerry," says the FBI affidavit.
Ramnarine also is charged with making $55,784 in illegal profit from insider trading linked to Bristol-Myers' $7 billion deal for Amylin, announced in June.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also has filed civil insider-trading charges against him. The agency is seeking to freeze his brokerage-account assets, as well as other penalties.
Ramnarine, who is being held on $250,000 bail, declined to comment through a court-appointed attorney.
A company spokesman says the 45-year-old East Brunswick, N.J., resident has been placed on administrative leave.
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.
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