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August 8, 2019

SEC bans former KPMG partner for insider trading

On 2 August 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission obtained a final judgment against a Mississippi mergers and acquisitions attorney, certified public accountant, and former partner of KPMG who was charged by the agency in 2016 with insider trading. Thomas W. Avent, Jr. has been banned for life from practising as an attorney and an accountant for listed companies as well as being fined $125,000.

In 2016 the SEC had alleged that while performing tax due diligence work as a partner of KPMG in 2011 and 2012, Avent obtained highly confidential non-public information about three potential acquisitions of publicly-traded companies. The complaint further alleged that Avent tipped his stock broker about the upcoming acquisitions on three separate occasions, and that Avent's stock broker in turn passed the tips to a former colleague and long-time friend.

The final judgment, to which Avent consented without admitting or denying the allegations of the complaint, permanently enjoins him from violating the antifraud provisions of Sections 10(b) and 14(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rules 10b-5 and 14e-3 and orders him to pay a civil penalty of $125,000. In a separate administrative proceeding, Avent has also been barred from acting as an attorney or an accountant.

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