Back in 2013, former Microsoft manager John E. Hardy III allegedly used confidential information to place stock market bets before the company made public announcements on mergers and acquisitions. The practice commonly known as "insider trading" is dangerously illegal and now the manager has agreed to pay about $380,000 to settle insider trading charges.
The SEC is the group behind the allegations and has said to The Seattle Times that Hardy III used confidential information to place stock market bets before announcements of the acquisition of Nokia and other unnamed transactions. The settlement is subject to court approval and according to TST, Hardy III has not admitted to or denied the allegations.
While at Microsoft, Hardy III was previously responsible for tasks like preparing financial reports for executives, and Microsoft's Board of Directors. In the official complaint, the SEC also highlights that he worked in Microsoft's Cooperate final planning and analysis department from 2011 until September.
Three specific instances of Insider trading occurred in May, June, July, and August of 2013, In May and June, Hardy III was made aware of Microsoft's earnings falling below expectations, so he purchased options, which then entitled him to sell Microsoft sales at a set price. According to the SEC, later in July, he sold the same options and gained $9,000. The same occurred when Microsoft planned an acquisition of Nokia and Hardy III purchased options to later gain $175,000.
Fortunately, a reasonable conclusion has been made to a very unfortunate situation. Judging by Microsoft's remarks and the corporate overhaul Microsoft continues to manage under new CEO Satya Nadella, the company should find itself bearing fewer headlines such as these in the future.