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Merrill Lynch Dismisses Accused Inside Trader

March 13, 1987|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Merrill Lynch & Co. on Thursday fired a top official at its London office who was accused of participating in a $4-million inside-trading scheme.

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged in a civil complaint filed here Wednesday that Nahum Vaskevitch, director of mergers and acquisitions for Merrill Lynch in London, gave an investor confidential information involving 12 companies over a two-year period.

It said in a statement that Vaskevitch was dismissed after he "failed to provide Merrill Lynch with a satisfactory explanation of the SEC allegations."

Vaskevitch, 36, who began working for Merrill Lynch in London in 1981, was suspended after the complaint was filed.

Patricia Nee, a Merrill Lynch spokeswoman in New York, said the company has been cooperating with the SEC for several months and did not benefit from any illegal trading.

She said she did not know if any other Merrill Lynch employees were involved in the case.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Carter froze the assets of Vaskevitch; the investor, David Sofer, and two foreign-based companies controlled by Sofer.

Court papers accused Vaskevitch, a dual citizen of Britain and Israel, of passing inside information to Sofer, 46, an Israeli living in Jerusalem.

Sofer and two companies controlled by him, Plenmeer, a British firm, and Meda, a Liechtenstein corporation, made illicit profits of more than $4 million using the information, the SEC said.

SEC papers said Vaskevitch had a financial interest in Plenmeer and shared in the alleged illegal profits.

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