Seven Britons testify in French insider trading inquiry

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Seven Britons including a now-retired journalist appeared at a hearing summoned by France's market regulator on Friday as part of an inquiry into suspected insider trading of Paris-listed stocks.

AMF board members said investigators had uncovered several trades suggesting that sources for the journalist were alerted to market-moving information before he published them in his daily financial newsletter.

Although the journalist Geoff Foster, a former Daily Mail contributor, did not directly profit from the trades himself, investigators said his sources made profits worth several thousand euros on trades in 2011 and 2012.

"I would never indicate what I was going to write, all I would say is thank you for the rumours," Foster told the board.

"In my 40 years' experience I would definitely not tell anybody what was going to be in my market report. It would be a serious breach of my ethics and professional principles."

The information concerned potential deals for high-profile stocks including Christian Dior as well as less-known names like the oil services group Maurel & Prom and the chemicals company Arkema.

In one case, suspicious trades were discovered just before the newsletter reported a potential 350 euro per share takeover offer by luxury giant LVMH for its smaller rival Hermes -- more than 86 percent above its market price at the time.

Four of the people testifying booked suspicious profits ranging from 13,000 to 38,000 euros ($15,000 to $44,000), the AMF says.

© 2018 AFP

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