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Former Equifax executive charged with insider trading ahead of massive data breach

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A former Equifax executive has been charged by the SEC with insider trading after allegedly selling his stock in the company before it announced last year’s massive data breach.

According to the SEC, Jun Ying, the CIO of an Equifax business unit and next in line to be the global CIO, received confidential information about the company’s breach before the news was public. Ying allegedly exercised his stock options and sold his shares, making close to $1 million and avoiding a $117,000 loss when the stock price tanked post-announcement.

The SEC said the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is also filing criminal charges against Ying.

Equifax, a data broker, became the subject of intense government and public scrutiny after it was revealed that nearly 150 million people had their personal information leaked in the breach. Afterward, Bloomberg revealed that three Equifax executives had sold stock just before the breach was announced, but Ying was not one of three named in the report.

“Corporate insiders who learn inside information, including information about material cyber intrusions, cannot betray shareholders for their own financial benefit,” Richard R. Best, director of the SEC’s Atlanta office, said in a statement announcing the charges.