Deutsche Boerse agrees to pay US$12.5m over CEO probe

Deutsche Boerse agrees to pay US$12.5m over CEO probe

Carsten Kengeter, CEO of German stocks operator Deutsche Boerse, is suspected of insider trading. (AFP/Daniel ROLAND)

FRANKFURT AM MAIN: Deutsche Boerse said Wednesday it is willing to pay German authorities fines totalling €10.5 million (US$12,5 million) in an effort to settle a probe of its boss Carsten Kengeter, who is suspected of insider trading.

The Frankfurt exchange operator's management and supervisory boards agreed to accept a proposal made by prosecutors over the allegations, according to a statement.

Deutsche Boerse is ready to pay fines of €5-€5.5 million (US$5.9-US$6.5 million) over alleged insider trading and failure to inform the public.

The inquiry centres on a financial operation carried out by Kengeter on Dec 14, 2015, consisting of the purchase of shares worth about €4.5 million in the Deutsche Boerse group.

Two months later, in February 2016, Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange unveiled their merger plans, an announcement which sent their share prices shooting upwards.

He is suspected of having discussed the merger plan with LSE management from the summer of 2015, and then having bought the shares with that information in mind.

Deutsche Boerse has always denied that its chief committed any wrongdoing and repeated those denials on Wednesday. In its statement the firm said it agreed to pay the fines "in order to protect the best interests of the company".

It is now up to authorities in Frankfurt to decide whether to accept the payment and if it ends the probe of Kengeter.

The European Union in March blocked the merger, which was snagged by competition concerns and the fallout from Brexit.

The decision was widely expected after the LSE said it had refused the European Commission's request to divest its majority stake in Italian trading platform MTS.

Source: AFP/de