A US stock trader has admitted he profited from insider trading – by buying and selling shares using tip-offs from Ukrainian newswire hackers.

Leonid Momotok, 48, of Suwanee, Georgia, pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn court on Monday to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

He could get up to 20 years behind bars in addition to fines and forfeitures.

It was bad judgment and I am very sorry, he told federal court Judge Ramon Reyes.

Momotok was among 32 people charged by America's financial watchdog the SEC in 2015 after investigators broke up a Ukrainian-based hacking ring that traded on insider information from stolen unpublished press releases.

The hackers obtained employee account credentials to break into the systems of three newswire services – Business Wire, Marketwired and PR Newswire – to access press releases and company announcements that had not yet been released to the general public.

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