Belfast Telegraph

Italian authorities fine Petrofac chief over insider trading claims

Italian authorities have ordered property seizures and slapped the chief executive of Petrofac with a 300,000 euro (£276,000) fine after accusing the oil services firm boss of insider trading.

Italy's National Commission for Companies and the Stock Exchange (CONSOB) alleges that Ayman Asfari was given insider information by an executive of an Italian company and used that information to trade the Italian firm's securities.

The Petrofac boss is facing a 300,000 euro fine and asset seizures on property valued at 385,000 euros (£354,000).

CONSOB has also banned Mr Asfari from taking up administrative, management or supervisory roles at any Italian-listed companies for 12 months.

Mr Asfari has denied the claims and is calling on authorities to revoke their decision as he was not given a chance to defend himself before being hit with sanctions.

"I was shocked to receive this notification, and I informed the company as soon as I was made aware," he said in a statement.

"I absolutely reject this decision which was made entirely in my absence, affording me no opportunity to defend myself.

"I absolutely confirm that no communication ever took place as alleged and I was never in possession of inside information. I have instructed my lawyers to immediately appeal this decision and I am confident it will be overturned."

Petrofac said he plans to appeal against the decision in Italian courts if CONSOB fails to revoke the sanctions.

Mr Asfari said he wants to "set the record straight" and is providing regulators with evidence showing their findings are "completely unfounded".

The company's board has thrown its support behind the chief executive.

Petrofac chairman Rijnhard van Tets said: "The board fully supports Ayman in his defence against this decision, the steps he is taking to prove that in no way did he act improperly, and his leadership of the company at this difficult time."

Petrofac shares were trading lower by nearly 2.5% at 429.2p following the news.

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