Thursday, November 20, 2008

TCL disappointed Insider traders scot-free:

Published: Friday November 21, 2008

Trinidad Cement Ltd is disappointed that individuals who were allegedly involved in insider trading of its shares could not be prosecuted by authorities.

The Claxton Bay company was responding yesterday to a statement by the Securities and Exchange Commission in which it noted that a three-year investigation into allegations of insider trading in TCL stock had found unacceptable market conduct.

The trades took place during an attempted takeover by Mexican cement giant Cemex in 2002.

Chairman Osborne Nurse said in a statement the SEC decided to close the matter after legal counsel determined that the evidence in the matter did not support the required standard of proof.

TCL noted as interesting an extract from the SEC's notice, published in yesterday's Express, which indicated that external advisers and representatives of institutional investors and their colleagues, associates and family members conducted trades in TCL during the takeover bid.

Group chief executive Dr Rollin Bertrand said yesterday: "We are very disappointed that it has not been possible for the regulatory authorities to initiate prosecution of those persons, (including a number of high profile individuals), who were involved in insider trading of its shares. A properly functioning stock market requires a strong regulatory environment to prevent abuse by market actors, which can seriously undermine investor confidence."

In a statement, he added that TCL was nevertheless heartened by the fact that the SEC recognised there was considerable evidence of unacceptable market conduct and made recommendations for the strengthening of securities regulation.

The company urged the authorities to implement the recommendations.

Congress of the People political leader Winston Dookeran said the party was dismayed by the SEC's statement and its decision to close the matter because of insufficient evidence to meet the requirement of the law.

"This is preposterous; it is up to the courts to make the determination of this matter and not the SEC," a statement signed by Dookeran said.

The party called for a public investigation into the matter and urged Prime Minister Patrick Manning to expose the evidence of unacceptable market conduct in the TCL trades.

Source: Trinidad Express Newspapers

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