WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) ¿ The Securities and Exchange Commission said Wednesday it has charged Reza Saleh, an employee of a Perot Systems Corp. affiliate, with insider trading related to Dell Inc.'s offer to buy Perot Systems earlier this week. In a complaint filed in Dallas, the SEC said Saleh, 53, reaped about $8.6 million in "illicit profits" based on his knowledge of "material, non-public information that he learned in the course of his employment with, or duties for, two Perot-related private companies and Perot Systems." The SEC is seeking a court order to freeze Saleh's assets. A message left under a listing for Reza Saleh in Richardson, Texas, was not immediately returned Wednesday. Saleh works for Parkcentral Capital Management LP, the Plano, Texas-based investment firm of former presidential candidate and Perot Systems Chairman Emeritus Ross Perot. Saleh also works for Perot Investments, which manages Ross' personal financial affairs, and has sometimes attended Perot Systems planning meetings, according to the complaint. Dell said Monday it will pay $3.9 billion ¿ a hefty premium ¿ for the technology services company. The move is part of Dell's attempt to expand beyond the PC business and compete more aggressively with Hewlett-Packard Co.
The SEC's complaint, filed the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that Saleh learned nonpublic information about the Dell offer on Sept. 4 through his work. The agency said Saleh made "extremely large" purchases of call options for Perot Systems common stock between Sept. 4 and Sept. 18, and then sold all of the 9,332 call options on Monday after Perot Systems' stock soared on the official merger announcement. The resulting $8.6 million profit was distributed between two TDAmeritrade accounts, the SEC said. On the same day, Saleh withdrew $5,000 from one of his accounts and attempted to pull out another $55,000, but was denied after the SEC contacted the brokerage, the complaint said. "The overwhelming evidence in this case allowed the SEC to move quickly against the trader before he could spend the huge profits from his illegal trading," said Rose Romero, director of the SEC's Fort Worth Regional office, in a statement. The SEC says Saleh on or before Sept. 8 asked a Perot Systems director ¿ unnamed in the complaint ¿ certain questions that demonstrated that he was aware of the Dell deal. After he was contacted by the SEC on Monday after trying to withdraw funds from his accounts, the SEC said Saleh acknowledged to the Perot Systems director and a Perot Investments worker that his call options purchases were based on prior knowledge of the merger deal. Such actions would violate the companies' trading policy.
Saleh has been placed on administrative leave from Parkcentral, the agency said. The SEC complaint also names Amir Saleh, 49, as a defendant. The agency said he resides at the same address as Reza Saleh, and a joint account holds some of the allegedly illicit profits.