NEW YORK (AP) _ A former director of Sante Fe International Corp. pleaded guilty Friday to federal insider-trading charges for illegally profiting from the company's takeover in 1981.

Darius N. Keaton, 62, of Monterey, Calif., was indicted in January 1986 on charges he used his corporate position to make more than $274,000 in illegal profits with inside information about the acquisition of Sante Fe International by the Kuwait Petroleum Co.

The Alhambra, Calif.-based Sante Fe International was acquired by Kuwait Petroleum six years ago for about $2 billion, a move that increased stock values from about $30 a share to $51.

The 18-count indictment accused Keaton of using the confidential information he gained while on the company's board of directors to buy 10,000 shares of Sante Fe International stock before the takeover was publicly announced. He pleaded guilty to two felony counts.

Federal law forbids corporate executives, board members, investment bankers and others with access to non-public corporate information from using it to trade in securities for their own profit.

Keaton pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Whitman Knapp to one count of wire fraud and one count of failing to report the purchase of Sante Fe International stock to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

His attorney, Milton Gould, noted the original indictment accused Keaton of tipping off others to the pending takeover, but his client pleaded guilty only to insider trading for himself.

Last July, Costandi Nasser, a Jordanian investor, was indicted on insider trading charges for allegedly making $4.6 million in illegal profits using Keaton's information. Nasser's whereabouts are unknown.

In 1982, Keaton settled an SEC civil action for $300,000 without admitting or denying guilt. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison and $11,000 in fines, with sentencing set for June 1.