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The US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Los Angeles District Attorney have accused erstwhile Intel product marketing engineer Brian Pridgeon of insider trading.

Pridgeon worked at Intel until March this year, and faces charges that he, his cousin and a business partner made almost a quarter of a million dollars between them by snapping up shares in Ancor Communications last December, shortly before Intel announced a collaborative deal with the Minneapolis-based company involving Intel's purchase of $14 million worth of Ancor stock.

Early last week, the SEC nabbed an ex-Nvidia employee for allegedly profiting from his inside knowledge of his company's business relationship with Microsoft.

In the Pridgeon case, each man faces charges of conspiracy and two counts of securities fraud that could land them in federal prison for up to 25 years if convicted.

Pridgeon allegedly used his inside knowledge to buy 5600 shares of Ancor stock before the deal was made public in December 1999, and he ultimately sold the shares after the deal was announced for a profit of $137,000. The other two accused are said to have also bought options in Ancor on advice from Pridgeon, selling them just after the deal was made public, netting $95,000 in profits

"My client denies any wrongdoing and expects to be fully vindicated," said Pridgeon's lawyer.

Intel had no comment to make. ®

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