Insider trading charges tied to Herbalife short

SEC Building

The SEC accuses two men of insider trading ahead of Pershing Square Bill Ackman's announcement that his fund had taken a short position on Herbalife.

The SEC said Filip Szymik of New York learned from his roommate, who was a Pershing analyst, of William Ackman's planned announcement on Dec. 20, 2012, that he was shorting Herbalife stock because of his claim that its operations amounted to a pyramid scheme.

Szymik, 28, then allegedly told Jordan Peixoto of the news. Peixoto, 30, of Toronto, in turn allegedly made $47,100 off of Herbalife put options, the agency said.

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"Szymik and Peixoto chose to engage in illicit tipping and trading in advance of the announcement of market-moving information and today they are being held accountable for those offenses," Sanjay Wadhwa, senior associate director of the SEC's New York Regional Office, said in a statement.

The SEC said it settled with Szymik, ordering him to cease and desist from further violations and pay a $47,100 civil penalty.

"Mr. Szymik did not trade a single share of Herbalife or make a penny from his friend's trade," defense attorney Paul W. Ryan said in an email. "With this settlement, he hopes to put this behind him."

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The former Pershing analyst who leaked the news left the firm in September 2013, according to the SEC order against Szymik.

Pershing declined to comment on the news.

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