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At the outset of the pandemic, new hobbies were all the rage. Baking bread, knitting, crafting, puzzling, anything to pass the eons of time and allow us to forget for a moment the unrelenting hellscape that our lives had become. This was (allegedly) even true for those who you might expect to be quite busy keeping the smoldering remains of our world, work and social lives going, like, for instance, engineers at a cloud platform seeing three times as much activity as pre-plague. For in spite of whatever their added workload, Twilio’s Lokesh Lagudu, Chotu Pulagam and Hari Sure allegedly found plenty of time to chat and trade.

The three Twilio engineers sat on a team responsible for sending customers invoices…. Sure passed information on the data to his friend Dileep Kamujula, and Pulagam gave details to his brother, Chetan Pulagam. Lagudu provided information to his girlfriend, Sai Nekkalapudi, and his friend, Abhishek Dharmapurikar.

After receiving the information, Sure wired around $10,000 to Kamujula, who then bought Twilio call options. Nekkalapudi and Chetan Pulagam, meanwhile, sought permission to trade options from brokerage accounts they had not used in years, the complaint said…. The Twilio engineers allegedly communicated in a private chat group, exchanging messages in Telugu, a language mostly spoken in southern India. Based on the customers data, they said in the group that the stock would definitely move higher following the results.

Well, that’s not all they said.

Two days before Twilio issued first-quarter results, according to the complaint, Sure said in the chat group that it appeared the stock would jump to $150 from about $110 at the time, leading Chotu Pulagam to reply, “Miillionaireeeeee.”

SEC charges Twilio engineers with insider trading during early days of pandemic [CNBC]

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