December 23, 2008 / 7:21 AM / 9 years ago

Brunswick suspends PR exec over insider trading case

NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - International PR firm Brunswick Group suspended Nina Devlin, the executive whose husband was charged with insider trading based on confidential information authorities said he obtained from her.

U.S. authorities charged Matthew Devlin, an ex-Lehman salesman, with tipping off friends and relatives about 13 impending mergers using confidential information he got from his wife, according to the criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Though Nina Devlin, a partner at Brunswick, has not been charged in the case, and Brunswick has said the information was obtained without her knowledge, the company said Friday’s suspension was pending a full review of the situation by its outside counsel.

“We believe it is the appropriate course of action in this situation,” Brunswick said in a statement.

The company, headquartered in London, said it had contacted all its clients within 24 hours of the case coming to light on Thursday.

One of its biggest clients Dow Chemical DOW.N suspended its use of Brunswick’s service on Friday, saying it was “shocked and disappointed” at events.

Court documents showed that the U.S. authorities accused Matthew Devlin and other parties of illegal trades in transactions including Dow Chemical’s $15 billion acquisition of Rohm & Haas this year and Alcoa Inc’s (AA.N) hostile offer for Alcan in 2007.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the illegal trades netted $4.8 million in illegal profits. The SEC said that some traders referred to Devlin and his wife as the “golden goose”.

    The civil case is: No. 08-cv-11001, U.S. SEC vs Devlin et al. The criminal cases are: No. 08-mag-2777, 08-mag-2778 and 08-mag-2779.

    (Reporting by Yinka Adegoke, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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