Man facing US fraud charges denies knowledge of 'share price tweets'
A British man facing fraud charges in the US has denied any knowledge of tweets authorities claim were intended to manipulate stock prices.
James Craig, 62, of Dunragit, a village near Stranraer in Scotland, said he was only made aware of the allegations through media reports and claimed he had no interest in the stock market.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it had filed securities fraud charges against him in a federal court in California.
Speaking from his home in Dunragit, Craig told the Scottish Sun: "I have never been approached by any law enforcement agency telling me I am subject of any investigation. Of course I deny it.
"The first I knew of it, in all honesty, was when the TV camera turned up this morning and I thought 'what's happened here?' Somebody texted me about two minutes later.
"No law enforcement agency has ever come to me. Nobody has interviewed me. Not even the local law enforcement have come to tell me about this."
He challenged US authorities to contact him directly, " instead of making allegations over the airwaves".
The complaint alleges Craig tweeted false statements in 2013 about two companies, Audience and Sarepta Therapeutics, on Twitter accounts he created to look like the real accounts of well-known securities research firms.
Several tweets, suggesting Audience was under federal investigation, were said to cause the share price of the mobile audio company to fall 28% before the Nasdaq temporarily halted trading.
Further alleged tweets that claimed Sarepta Therapeutics was also subject to an investigation sent stock in the drug firm tumbling by 16%.
Craig is accused of buying and selling shares in both companies in an attempt to profit when the stock rebounded, the SEC said.
He has been indicted by a federal grand jury in San Francisco, where prosecutors claimed shareholders had lost more than 1.6 million dollars (£1.05 million) as a result, according to the Associated Press.