Falklands Islands speaker fined by FSA

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The Independent Online

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is levying fines of more than £145,000 on the speaker of the Falklands Islands assembly and his oil services company for insider trading.

Darwin Lewis Clifton, a non-executive director of Byron Holdings, was fined £59,500 for buying shares in Aim-listed Desire Petroleum, of which he was also a director until his resignation yesterday. Byron Holdings was fined £86,030.

The FSA said that the breaches were not deliberate and that, when directing Byron Holdings to buy shares on four occasions between Novermber 2007 and February 2008, Mr Clifton has not considered whether the information he had about a future joint venture was inside information.

Margaret Cole, the regulator's director of enforcement, said: "Mr Clifton fell short of the high standards expected of someone in that position. Senior people at publicly quoted companies should ensure that they understand when material is inside information and do not trade when they have it. If they fail to do this they can expect the FSA to impose substantial financial or other sanctions, even where they have not deliberately set out to commit market abuse."

Mr Clifton, who was elected as speaker to the Falklands assembler in November 2005, co-operated fully with the investigation and therefore qualified for a 30 per cent reduction in his fine. In an official statement on his resignation from Desire, Mr Clifton said: "I regret that I failed to apprise myself fully of the dealing restrictions applying to a director in my position."