SEC says extradition of TheBull to the U.S. is still pending

The proceedings launched by the United States Securities and Exchange (SEC) against Apostolos Trovias, also known as TheBull, are set for a delay, as indicated by a status report filed by the regulator in the New York Southern District Court on December 17, 2021.

The Commission understands that Trovias, who is charged with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder in connection with his scheme to sell purported “insider trading tips” on Dark Web marketplaces, was initially detained in Peru pursuant to a request by the Department of Justice. His extradition to the United States is currently pending.

The SEC continues to have difficulties with locating Trovias. The latest status report says that the Commission is seeking information on Trovias’s location in Peru through Peruvian authorities in order to serve Trovias under the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol, the applicable service convention.

As of December 17, 2021, the Commission’s request is still pending.

Counsel for the SEC has been in contact with Trovias’s criminal attorney, who informed the Commission that he does not have information concerning Trovias’s location and has not received authorization to waive service of the complaint.

According to the SEC’s complaint, from at least December 2016 through early 2021, Trovias—operating under the pseudonym “TheBull”—engaged in a deceptive scheme to offer and sell so-called “insider trading tips” on Dark Web marketplaces to purchasers whom Trovias offered an unfair advantage for trading securities in the public markets.

As alleged in the complaint, Trovias claimed that the information he was selling consisted of order-book data from a securities trading firm that was provided to Trovias by an employee of the firm. Trovias allegedly sold those “tips” through one-off sales, as well as weekly and monthly subscriptions. Trovias allegedly sold over 100 subscriptions to investors via the Dark Web over the course of the scheme.

The complaint alleges that, in addition to order-book information, Trovias sold the pre-release earnings reports of publicly traded companies. The complaint further alleges that Trovias acknowledged to federal authorities that this information was “sensitive and more importantly illegal to use or share.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Trovias with violating the antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws. The complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement, prejudgment interest and penalties against Trovias.

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