Dutch regulator fines Fortis Holding for market manipulation
Dutch financial markets watchdog AFM said Wednesday it had fined insurance group Fortis Holding 576,000 euros (780,000 dollars) for market manipulation and withholding share price sensitive information.
Two of the fines were for market manipulation related to then chief executive officer Jean-Paul Votron's statement in June 2008 that Fortis' solvency was "on course" and "strong."
"This statement was contrary to the negative developments within Fortis' solvency prognosis as of May 2008," said the AFM statement.
It sent out an "incorrect or misleading" signal, said the AFM, and amounted to market manipulation.
The other two fines were for failing to timeously publish price-sensitive information affecting Deutsche Bank's bid for certain subsidiaries of ABN Amro.
Fortis said in its annual report, issued Wednesday, that it "challenges any allegations of wrongdoing and has appealed the decision of the AFM."
Hard hit by the global financial crisis, the former Belgian-Dutch banking and insurance group was dismantled in October 2008, with its Dutch banking and insurance assets -- including ABN Amro -- nationalised by the Netherlands for 16.8 billion euros (22 billion dollars).
Its Belgian banking arm is to be taken over by French giant BNP Paribas.
Fortis Holding retains the former group's insurance business in Belgium, as well as some other old assets and liabilities.