SEC Charges Nicolas Zanen and His Friend with Insider Trading

Stock ScalpingThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on October 9, 2015 that it has charged Nicolas Zanen, Vice President of Trading at a subsidiary of Cheniere Energy, Inc., and his college friend, Francis van Steenberge, with insider trading in Cheniere options ahead of announcements about Cheniere’s entry into contracts with certain counterparties and Cheniere’s public stock offering.

The SEC’s complaint regarding Zanen’s insider trading states that Zanen and van Steenberge entered into an arrangement in 2011 to share material, private information regarding Cheniere. Under their supposed arrangement, Zanen would share material, non-public information about Cheniere with van Steenberge, who then would trade, including in out of the money options, on the basis of that information in his personal brokerage account as directed by Zanen. The SEC’s insider trading complaint claims that in 2011 and 2012, van Steenberge traded ahead of least four announcements based on private information that Zanen gave him, resulting in nearly $800,000, which the two intended to share as part of their arrangement. The insider trading complaint also claims that by giving private information about Cheniere to van Steenberge for a personal benefit, Zanen breached a duty he owed to Cheniere.

Van Steenberge has agreed to settle the SEC’s insider trading 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.

For further information about this securities law blog post, please contact Brenda Hamilton, Securities Attorney at 101 Plaza Real S, Suite 202 N, Boca Raton, Florida, (561) 416-8956, by email at [email protected] or visit   This securities law blog post is provided as a general informational service to clients and friends of Hamilton & Associates Law Group and should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal and compliance advice on any specific matter, nor does this message create an attorney-client relationship. Please note that the prior results discussed herein do not guarantee similar outcomes.

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