NEW YORK (Reuters) - A credit ratings analyst for Standard & Poor’s and two other defendants were criminally charged by U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday with insider trading related to Sherwin-Williams Co’s

(SHW.N) $9.3 billion purchase of Valspar Corp.

FILE PHOTO: The seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission hangs on the wall at SEC headquarters in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Authorities said the analyst, Sebastian Pinto-Thomaz, 33, tipped his friends Abell Oujaddou and Jeremy Millul in early March 2016 about the impending transaction between the two paint makers, after learning about it through his job.

Oujaddou and Millul then made about $300,000 of illegal profit by buying Valspar shares and options, and selling them shortly after the merger was announced, authorities said.

All three defendants were charged with securities fraud and conspiracy, according to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges.

According to the SEC, Oujaddou, 55, is a hair stylist who runs an upscale hair salon in Manhattan, while Millul, 32, manages a jewelry boutique with offices in Manhattan’s Diamond District. All three defendants live in Manhattan, the SEC said.

S&P did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be identified.

Sherwin-Williams announced the closing of the merger last June.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry

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