FSA delivers £15,000 fine to Profile Media exec

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The Independent Online

A senior employee of Profile Media, a magazine and brochure publisher, was yesterday fined £15,000, becoming the first person penalised by the Financial Services Authority on market abuse charges.

The case was brought against Robert Middlemiss, company secretary of Profile Media, under the FSA's civil powers of enforcement. According to the FSA, Mr Middlemiss sold a tranche of shares in Profile Media in April 2002 after learning that revenue would miss forecasts. He sold the shares before the company warned the market about the disappointing results.

Separately, the regulator brought criminal charges against three former directors of a software company, AIT. Their case will be heard in court and could result in fines and prison sentences.

Andrew Procter, the FSA's director of enforcement, said: "We will not tolerate individuals using a position of trust for their own personal financial gain. There should be no doubt that we will pursue those who, on the basis of unpublished information, deal ahead of announcements."

Mr Middlemiss avoided a £6,825 loss by selling 70,000 of his 291,800 shares before the shares plunged 68 per cent on 2 May, 2002, when the publisher forecast an annual loss and said it might break some banking covenants.