The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Atlanta businessman John M. Darden III accusing him of insider trading involving the AirTran Holdings Inc. merger with Southwest Airlines Co.

The suit, filed Jan. 15 in Atlanta, alleges Darden, a 73-year-old former consultant, made a $159,160 profit on the sale of AirTran stock after getting inside information about the merger from an unnamed AirTran board member with whom he shared office space for six years and had been friends with for 30 years.

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