Goldman has no 'direct access' to information on Heinz account

, Bloomberg

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. doesn't have "direct access" to information about the beneficial owner behind transactions in an account in which the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said suspicious trading of H.J. Heinz Co. occurred, the bank told the regulator.

The SEC on Feb. 15 sued "unknown" traders over suspicious trading of Heinz's options through what the regulator said was an account at Goldman Sachs. The New York-based bank told SEC senior counsel Megan Bergstrom that the account holder is a Zurich private wealth client, Bergstrom said in a filing Feb. 20 in federal court in Manhattan.

"Goldman informed me that it does not have direct access to information about the beneficial owner or owners behind any particular transaction or position" in the account, Bergstrom said in the filing.

The trades at issue in the SEC's lawsuit came a day before Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G Capital Inc. announced a $23 billion takeover of Pittsburgh-based Heinz, the agency alleged in its complaint in federal court in Manhattan. Using a Zurich-based account that involved call-option contracts, the unidentified traders' unrealized profit was more than $1.7 million, according to the SEC.

The unidentified traders are "foreign traders and trade through a foreign account," the SEC said.

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