A top executive of financial services company LendingTree has been indicted on federal charges stemming from insider trading tied to the purchase of the company by USA Interactive in 2003, media reports said Tuesday.

The indictment of the senior vice president, David Anderson, was filed under seal this month and was made public Monday when he appeared before a federal magistrate and was released on bond, reports said.

The indictment alleges that Anderson improperly disclosed information to others that led them to purchase thousands of shares of Charlotte, N.C.-based LendingTree stock and options from April 30 to May 5, 2003, when the USA Interactive deal was announced, Associated Press reported.

The indictment also accuses Anderson of trying to obstruct a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into suspected wrongdoing, media reports said.

“LendingTree has supported the authorities in every aspect of this investigation, and we take these allegations extremely seriously. Based on the indictment, David Anderson’s employment has been suspended. LendingTree has not been accused of any wrongdoing whatsoever, and in fact, LendingTree and its shareholders are recognized by the government as the victims of any crimes that may have occurred,” said Rebecca B. Anderson, a LendingTree spokeswoman.

In May 2003, Barry Diller, CEO of InterActiveCorp, made a bold foray into the business of online lending with the purchase of LendingTree, a deal valued at about $700 million. Building on the LendingTree acquisition, InterActiveCorp quickly assembled a range of online real estate sites in a buying spree that added RealEstate.com, GetSmart and Domania to its arsenal.

Anderson, general manager of a LendingTree division that offers real estate settlement services, faces charges including making false and misleading statements to the government, attempting to persuade others to make false statements and withhold information from the SEC, corruptly obstructing an official proceeding, and witness tampering, reports said.

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