Regal Petroleum fined £600,000

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The London Stock Exchange fined Regal Petroleum £600,000 for misleading investors in what analysts said was a "slap on the wrist" that failed to punish anyone involved.

The LSE said statements which Regal released between 2003 and 2005, claiming oil reserves of up to 227 million barrels at a Greek prospect, were excessively optimistic. The AIM-listed oil explorer was also slow in telling investors when drilling revealed an absence of oil, the LSE said. The news of the dry wells prompted an 80 per cent drop in Regal's share price and led investors to force founder and major shareholder Frank Timis to resign as executive chairman. "The number, nature and duration of the breaches demonstrate a systematic pattern of conduct evidencing a reckless disregard for the AIM rules by Regal," said the LSE. Regal said it was disappointed at the outcome but added it was pleased to put the matter behind it. Most of Regal's management has changed since 2005.