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Cheniere subsidiary Vice President accused of insider trading

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LNG Industry,

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a statement, charging Nicolas Zanen – the Vice President of Trading at a Cheniere Energy Inc. subsidiary – and his friend, Francis J. van Steenberge with insider trading.

SEC stated that, in 2011, Zanen and van Steenberge agreed to share private information about Cheniere. Ostensibly, Zanen would share the material, which van Steenberge would then trade. SEC alleges that, between 2011 and 2012, van Steenberge traded – based on Zanen’s information – before at least four announcements were made by Cheniere. The profits reportedly reached almost US$800 000, and were to be shared by the two. SEC alleges that, in sharing private Cheniere information, Zanen breached his contract.

In the statement, SEC said: “Van Steenberge has agreed to settle the SEC's charges against him by consenting to the entry of a final judgment permanently enjoining him from future violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and to the payment of disgorgement (with pre-judgment interest) and civil penalties in amounts later to be determined by the court. The partial settlement is subject to approval by the court.

The SEC's complaint charges Zanen with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The SEC seeks a permanent injunction, disgorgement with prejudgment interest, and civil penalties against Zanen.”

SEC’s investigation was led by Robert Hannan and Nikolay Vydashenko, was supervised Eric Werner (based in the Fort Worth regional office) and the litigation is to be led by Matthew Gulde. SEC also acknowledged the assistance from the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority and FINRA.

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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