BMW probed over insider trading during Rover sell off

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The Independent Online

German authorities are investigating car manufacturer BMW for possible insider trading over the Rover sell-off.

German authorities are investigating car manufacturer BMW for possible insider trading over the Rover sell-off.

"The investigation is still at an early stage, and routine for a company for which we have reasons to investigate," said Regina Noessner, spokeswoman for the Frankfurt-based stock trading commission.

Noessner confirmed the authority was looking into insider trading, but would not say what its suspicions were based on, adding that the investigation could go on for weeks.

A report in the Financial Times Deutschland said the commission was concerned about radical share price movements ahead of the company's sell off of its loss-making Rover passenger car unit March 16.

"This is just a routine investigation that is undertaken anytime there are big swings in a company's stock," said BMW spokesman Juerg Dinner, who would not comment on whether there was actually insider trading.

Dinner said the investigation has been ongoing for months. News of a Rover sell off was leaked from company insiders as early as March 14, causing the stock to skyrocket.

A total of nearly 30 people are under investigation, including members of the management and supervisory boards and press relations department, according to the Financial Times Deutschland.

BMW announced in March plans to sell its Rover passenger car unit to British investment group Alchemy Partners Ltd. That deal fell through, leading BMW to eventually sell ailing Rover to another British consortium, Phoenix for a symbolic £10.

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