Liffe imposes heavy fine on options trader

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INVESTIGATORS at London's futures exchange may widen their investigation after imposing a heavy fine on one of the City's largest options traders, writes Russell Hotten.

Refco Overseas was fined pounds 56,500 and an employee, Giles Robinson, pounds 25,000 after an investigation by the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe) found that he had manipulated share deals.

Within two weeks of joining Refco Mr Robinson began what is known as 'front-running', which is similar to insider trading, though technically not regarded as such because it is not covered by the same legislation.

The deals, which were conducted over five days in March 1991, were said to involve tens of thousands of pounds.

Liffe would not deny that other individuals or firms were also being investigated in connection with the affair.

A spokesman for the exchange would only say: 'In the interest of ensuring that we do not prejudice investigations that may or may not be continuing we cannot comment on other firms.'

Liffe accepted that Refco had no knowledge of the deals but under its rules the firm was responsible for the conduct of its staff.

Mr Robinson has since been dismissed and his licence to trade revoked.