FSA fines Belgian £176,000 for insider dealing

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A Belgian investor was fined £176,254 yesterday by the Financial Services Authority for insider dealing in the shares of the mining company Monterrico Metals. The penalty levied on Erik Boyen consists of a refund of the £127,254 profit made in the transactions and a fine of £49,000.

It follows two other fines levied last year: one on Mr Boyen's brother Filip and one on Monterrico's former executive chairman Richard Ralph, a career diplomat and former governor of the Falkland islands.

The FSA concluded that in 2007, Mr Ralph asked the Boyen brothers to buy shares in the AIM-listed group, which he knew was in confidential and sensitive takeover discussions that were yet to be declared to the market. Mr Ralph asked Filip Boyen to buy shares in Monterrico on his behalf, and Filip Boyen then asked his brother Erik Boyen to undertake the transaction.

The FSA said that by asking Filip Boyen to buy the shares Mr Ralph passed on inside information. Between 29 January and 2 February 2007, Erik Boyen bought £16,450 worth of shares for his brother and £332,295 of shares on his own account, the FSA said. He made a profit of £127,254 when he sold the shares and gave his brother more than £30,000 as proceeds for the sale of his own shares. "Erik Boyen used inside information to gain an unfair advantage over other market participants... Such abuse could damage investors' confidence in the UK financial markets," said Margaret Cole, the director of enforcement at the FSA.

Erik Boyen settled at an early stage of the investigation and qualified for a 30 per cent discount on the additional penalty element. Otherwise, the FSA said, the total fine would have been £197,254. The FSA added that yesterday's fine concludes its investigation into Monterrico share dealing.

Mr Ralph, who became executive chairman of Monterrico in August 2006, became the UK's ambassador to Latvia in 1993 before being named governor of the Falkland Islands in 1996, a post he held until 1999. He subsequently served as ambassador to Romania from 2000 to 2003.