Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Chief cleared of insider trading

Former non-executive director of Fyffes Jim Flavin cleared of insider trading

A business chief implicated in an 100 million euro insider trading case at fruit importer Fyffes did not deliberately break the law, a watchdog revealed.

Jim Flavin, former head of investment engine DCC Group, will not be barred from running other companies after a High Court Inspector found he had acted in good faith in a massive stock sale 10 years ago.

The report found Mr Flavin made a costly error of judgment but that it was unintentional.

The Inspector, who likened the long-running and complex case to a corporate plane crash, identified mistakes in the share trade but found it met high standards required by law.

"The suggestion that the dealing was intentionally wrongful, or that it was evidence of dishonesty on the part of Jim Flavin and of a culture of disrespect for the companies code in DCC can be dispelled," his report found.

The Inspector said he found Mr Flavin made a simple, costly error in judgment about the quality of confidential Fyffes information he had before the sale.

The DCC Group paid out about 40m euro to Fyffes over the insider dealing case after the Supreme Court found in 2007 Mr Flavin had price sensitive information about the fruit importer before the stock sale.

The trade, which saw a DCC shareholding transferred to Dutch-based Lotus Green in 1995 before being sold for 106m euro in 2000, turned a profit of about 80m euro.

The High Court initially found in favour of Mr Flavin, who was on Fyffes' board of directors when the multi-million share deal was traded

The Supreme Court later reversed that decision and Mr Flavin resigned as DCC chief executive in 2008.

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