According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Igor Poteroba, an investment banker at UBS, used coded emails to provide accomplice Aleksey Koval with confidential data on transactions involving pharmaceutical companies.
The messages described securities and money as âfrequent flyer milesâ and âpotatoesâ, the organisation explained.
Mr Koval and another man, Alexander Vorobiev, received tips which allowed them to place trades.
Robert Khuzami, director of the SECâs Division of Enforcement, said: âThey thought it was clever to use code words such as frequent flyer miles and wedding registry gifts to conceal their insider trading scheme.
âThese words were code for nothing more than 'we are breaking the law'.â
The scheme is thought to have begun in July 2005 and involved insider information changing hands ahead of an estimated 11 mergers and acquisitions.
Some of the insider deals are thought to have taken place via brokerage accounts held in the name of Mr Koval and Mr Vorobievâs wives.
By Jim Ottewill