Knight Trading Group agreed to pay $79 million to settle improper trading charges by the SEC and the National Association of Securities Dealers, according to a news release from Knight. The agreement covers trading activity from 1999 through 2001 and includes claims that employees traded ahead of customer orders. As part of the settlement, subject to final SEC and NASD approval, Knight would give back $41 million in institutional trading profits; the recipients would be determined by the SEC and NASD. Knight also will pay $13 million in interest and $25 million in penalties. Knight neither admits nor denies the findings, according to the firm. SEC spokesman John Nester declined comment, and NASD spokeswoman Nancy Condon said she could not confirm the agreement.