A Bristol-Myers Squibb executive has been criminally charged with insider trading for allegedly purchasing options in companies that the drugmaker was looking to buy.
Robert Ramnarine, 45, who was promoted in July to assistant director for capital markets, was charged with three counts of securities fraud, according to a complaint made public on Thursday in the federal court in Newark, New Jersey.
Ramnarine was arrested on Thursday morning and is expected to appear in federal court later in the day, said a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman in New Jersey.
It is unclear whether Ramnarine has hired a lawyer for his defense. Bristol-Myers had no immediate comment.
The government said Ramnarine had made about $311,361 in illegal profit between August 2010 and July 2012 from buying call options in ZymoGenetics Inc. and Pharmasset Inc., and call and put options in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., shortly before those pharmaceutical companies agreed to takeovers.
According to the complaint, the East Brunswick, New Jersey, resident learned confidential information about potential takeovers while working as a director or executive director in Bristol-Myers' pension and savings investments office.
The complaint said that before buying the Pharmasset options, Ramnarine conducted several Internet searches from his Princeton, New Jersey, office concerning detection of insider trading, including "can stock option be traced to purchase inside trading" and "insider trading options traceillegal (sic)."
Bristol-Myers bought ZymoGenetics in 2010 and agreed in June to buy Amylin. Gilead Sciences Inc, meanwhile, agreed in November to buy Pharmasset after Bristol-Myers had dropped out of talks, and completed that acquisition in January.
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