Securities regulators filed civil insider trading charges against a former Standard & Poor's senior analyst for misusing confidential information about two possible corporate mergers.

The Securities and Exchange Commission claims Rick Marano, his brother William, and a third man, Carl Loizzi, with netting $1.1 million in trading profits from the alleged insider-trading scheme. Marano was a former ratings analyst in S&P's life insurance group. S&P is a division of McGraw Hill ( MHP).

In a related move, federal prosecutors in New York also filed criminal securities fraud charges against the three men.

Regulators allege that Marano, in April 2000, "misappropriated" nonpublic information about ING Group's ( ING) proposed acquisition of ReliaStar Financial. Marano and his associates used the information to purchase ReliaStar call options in advance of the official announcement of the deal.

A call option offers an investor the opportunity to buy a stock at a predetermined price. Traders use call options when they are convinced the price of stock is poised to rise.

A year later, the SEC alleges the three men engaged in a similar insider trading scheme. Marano allegedly provided his associates with confidential information about a potential deal involving American International Group ( AIG) and American General.

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