Regulator to look at Suter dealings

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The Independent Online
THE SECURITIES and Futures Authority, which regulates stockbrokers, is to examine the role of Tony Horton, a Wolverhampton broker, in Suter's share dealings in Metal Closures.

His role was described by the Department of Trade and Industry inspectors, Anthony Evans and Brian Worth, in their report on the ownership of six companies, including Metal Closures, published last week. All six were linked with Suter.

At the time of the dealings in Metal Closures in 1987, Mr Horton was a partner in Coni Gilbert & Sankey, a stockbroking firm run by Michael Somerset-Leeke which handled many of the deals studied by the inspectors.

Coni Gilbert & Sankey later became Whitefriars, which was in turn absorbed by Bikuben-Whitefriars, part of a Danish-owned group. Last December Bikuben said it would cease trading from the Wolverhampton office in January. But the office reopened last week with Tony Horton in charge as part of Williams de Broe.

Mr Horton played a key role in disposing of shares in Metal Closures bought by David Abell, chairman of Suter, 20 minutes before Mr Abell bought further shares in Metal Closures for Suter. Flemings, the merchant bank to Suter, advised Mr Abell to sell his shares to Suter at no profit to himself but Mr Abell decided to sell them into the market.

The inspectors found, however, that the shares were not sold in the ordinary way but through an 'agency cross' to Textilose pension fund, one of Mr Horton's clients. Suter bought them from the fund via a share exchange.