BNP fined for insider trading

The Capital Market Commission (CMC), Greece’s securities regulator, yesterday imposed a fine of 860,000 euros on BNP Paribas bank for «misusing insider information.» BNP Paribas’s Athens office had taken advantage of rumors concerning merger talks between the French bank and Greece’s Alpha Bank to sell 234,825 shares of Alpha «on behalf of parties linked to (BNP Paribas),» CMC said. On July 19, merger rumors had caused Alpha’s shares to rise 9.34 percent, helping the Athens general index rise 5.53 percent. «The Commission found that BNP Paribas knew that the rumors… were not true,» CMC said. The following day, Alpha shares had gained further when, at 12.28 p.m., a bulletin flashed on the Reuters site warning that BNP denied the merger rumors. Despite a later statement by BNP’s management that the report «was not true,» Alpha shares fell 3.3 percent. BNP’s sale of the Alpha shares had been completed by the time the story broke out. «(It) took advantage of its informational edge versus the investors and sold (the) shares… before dismissing the false rumors,» CMC said.