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The headquarters of credit bureau Equifax in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Equifax U.S. Chief Information Officer Jun Ying, whom the SEC alleges illegally traded shares in the company after a data breach, wasn't told by the company about the incident and instead pieced together that Equifax was breached on his own from scraps of information, according to the SEC's insider trading complaint.

Why it matters: Figuring it out on his own might be a key point in Ying's defense if the case went to trial, according to David Axelrod, a former supervisory trial counsel at the SEC. "A defense attorney could say he did not have material knowledge of the breach," said Axelrod, who is now an attorney for Ballard Spahr.

The details: After the breach, claims the complaint, Equifax alerted a small group of insiders in a clean up effort it called "Project Sierra." The I.T. employees brought in were told they were working on a large breach at an anonymous client. That group, "Project Sparta," included Ying.

  • “On the phone with [global CIO]. Sounds bad. We may be the one breached. . . . Starting to put 2 and 2 together,” Ying wrote in an email cited in the complaint.

The impact: Axelrod does not believe that a case with this much evidence against a defendant is likely to go to trial, and would be tough to sell to a jury or prosecutor. But the complaint does show Equifax had procedures in place to prevent some employees from trading on the information, suggesting that the company was "thinking clearly" about the trading issue.

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day One immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with all Denver Broncos quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

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