Regulator asks police to probe possible insider trading in Ventspils deal

Latvia's financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Markets Commission (FKTK) has turned to the police to look into possible market manipulation in connection with the recent sale of shares of oil transit company Ventspils nafta.

In a statement Friday, FKTK said: "The Financial and Capital Market Commission has concluded an examination of individual share transactions on the Nasdaq Riga market from 9 - 11 September, during which there was a significant share price increase of Ventspils nafta."

"Initial examination, including an assessment of Nasdaq Riga and information provided by a bank leads FKTK to conclude that one investor's activities show visible signs of market manipulation and insider dealing."

FKTK added that if such an offense is confirmed it would attract criminal liability and has asked State Police to launch criminal proceedings.

As previously reported by LSM, in the course of two days - and before markets were officially informed talks concerning a 43 percent stake in Venstpils nafta were underway - the price of the company's shares rose by more than 100%, meaning the buyer, Euromin Holdings (owned by oil trader Vitol) had to spend considerably more on the purchase than expected.

FKTK has not given the identity of the individual or entity under suspicion.

The sale of the shares was strongly criticized at the time by Ventspils mayor and political kingpin Aivars Lembergs.

The FKTK statement can be read (in Latvian only) HERE.

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