Lagardere and Daimler sent for trial over EADS insider trading

2nd December 2013, Comments 0 comments

French conglomerate Lagardere and German auto giant Daimler are to be put on trial in France for alleged insider trading over a 2006 sale of shares in aerospace and defence group EADS.

Noel Forgeard, the former joint chairman of Airbus parent company EADS, and the current Airbus chief operating officer for customers John Leahy, will also face trial, along with five other executives, judicial sources told AFP on Monday.

Lagardere and Daimler, who both vigorously contest any wrongdoing, are alleged to have sold 7.5 percent stakes in EADS in early 2006 in the knowledge that Airbus was encountering problems with the production of its A380 super jumbo.

The two groups revealed the share sales on April 6, 2006. Two months later, Airbus announced a six-month delay in the first deliveries of the A380, which caused a sharp fall in EADS' share price.

At the time, France's stock market regulator AMF carried out an investigation into the conduct of Lagardere, Daimler and 17 EADS executives. The regulator concluded in 2009 that there was no evidence any of the shareholders had sought financial advantage through the illegal use of privileged information.

"After having been cleared by the stock market authorities in the different countries concerned, and notably by the AMF, Lagardere notes with surprise the judge's decision to take various shareholders and executives of EADS to trial," the group's legal representative, Jean Weil, told AFP.

Daimler's lawyer Aurelien Hamelle added: "Daimler denies having committed any crime and was cleared by the AMF in the same case."

The other five Airbus or EADS executives who will be tried are Alain Flourens, Erik Pillet, Olivier Andries, Jean-Paul Gut and Andreas Sperl.

EADS said in statement: "EADS reiterates its full support of and confidence in its concerned managers, and remains confident that they will once again demonstrate that these accusations are groundless and should be fully dismissed."

© 2013 AFP

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