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Ex-Brokerage Officer Indicted in Insider Case

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Federal prosecutors unsealed an insider trading indictment Thursday against a former head of mergers and acquisitions in Merrill Lynch & Co.'s London office.

Nahum Vaskevitch, 41, was named in a 45-count indictment on charges that included conspiracy and violation of U.S. insider trading laws from 1984 to 1987.

He is accused of sharing with certain unnamed co-conspirators his knowledge of confidential plans for corporate takeovers or mergers that Merrill Lynch was working on. The co-conspirators allegedly used the information to make trades that netted $2.2 million in profit, some of which was passed to Vaskevitch.

Public charges of insider trading were first made against Vaskevitch in 1987. He was fired by Merrill Lynch that year, when the Securities and Exchange Commission sued him and an acquaintance, Israeli investor David Sofer, on civil insider trading charges involving some of the same transactions listed in Thursday’s indictment.

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Sofer and Vaskevitch settled the SEC suit. But SEC Chief Litigation Counsel Thomas C. Newkirk said Vaskevitch never paid the financial penalties he had agreed to. Although Vaskevitch was arrested briefly over the weekend in Cyprus, he has apparently slipped through authorities’ fingers. The U.S. attorney’s office in New York said the indictment was returned on March 5, but remained sealed because prosecutors couldn’t immediately get at Vaskevitch, who is an Israeli resident.

Vaskevitch could not be reached for comment. Andrew Lawler, a New York lawyer said to represent Vaskevitch, could not immediately be reached for comment.


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