On Oct. 10, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Rodrigo Terpins and his brother, Michel Terpins, have agreed to pay $5 million to settle charges that they were behind suspicious trading in call H.J. Heinz Company options one day before the company publicly announced its acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital. In an amended complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, the SEC alleges that Rodrigo Terpins, through a Caymans Islands-based entity named Alpine Swift, placed the order to purchase nearly $90,000 in option positions in Heinz based on material non-public information that he received from his brother Michel Terpins.
On Feb. 14, 2013, Heinz announced that Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital agreed to acquire Heinz in a deal valued at $28 billion, which resulted in a gain of approximately $1.8 million or an increase by nearly 2,000 percent of the original investment. The timing, size and profitability of the trades as well as the lack of a prior history of Heinz trading in the Alpine Swift account made the transactions highly suspicious in the wake of the Heinz announcement. Shortly thereafter, the SEC froze the assets in a Swiss-based trading account.