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Insider trading   Based on nonpublic information

SEC charges former member of Pinnacle Financial Partners

Pinnacle Financial PartnersThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged a Tennessee-based lawyer who served on the executive committee of the board of directors at Nashville-based Pinnacle Financial Partners with insider trading based on nonpublic information he learned about an impending merger.

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The SEC alleges that James C. Cope obtained more than $56,000 in ill-gotten gains by purchasing securities in Pinnacle’s acquisition target, Avenue Financial Holdings, prior to the banks’ joint public announcement later that month.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Cope learned confidential details about the planned merger during a board executive committee meeting on Jan. 5, 2016, and proceeded to place his first order to purchase Avenue Financial stock while that executive committee meeting was still in progress.

He allegedly placed four more orders within an hour after the meeting ended.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee today filed a parallel criminal case against Cope.

Cope lives in Murfreesboro and resigned from Pinnacle’s board in April, according to the SEC’s complaint filed in federal district court in Nashville.

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