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2 Hong Kong firms paying $10.9M to settle SEC insider trading allegations on CNOOC-Nexen deal

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WASHINGTON - Two Hong Kong investment firms have agreed to pay a total of $10.9 million to settle U.S. regulators' allegations of insider trading prior to the takeover of a Canadian oil and gas producer by China's state-owned oil company CNOOC.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement Tuesday with CITIC Securities International Investment Management and China Shenghai Investment Management.

In July 2012, CNOOC said it was buying Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc. for $15.1 billion. The SEC said that CITIC, China Shenghai and several other firms had confidential information about the planned acquisition and bought Nexen stock before the announcement.

CITIC is paying $6.6 million in restitution and penalties. China Shenghai and eight of its clients are paying $4.3 million in restitution. The firms neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

An attorney for CITIC, Robert Giuffra, said the investment firm had co-operated with the SEC and was pleased to have the matter resolved.

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