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FSA fines former British ambassador for market abuse

The FSA has fined former British ambassador to Peru and the former executive chairman of mining company Monterrico Metals Plc Richard Ralph £117,691.41 for market abuse.

Ralph and Filip Boyen, who was fined £81,982.95, both dealt in Monterrico shares on the basis of inside information.

Ralph was actively involved in takeover discussions around Monterrico and as such was not allowed to deal in the company’s shares. On January 28 2007, Ralph asked Boyen to buy £30,000 worth of Monterrico shares on his behalf.

Between January 29 and February 2, Boyen bought Monterrico shares worth £30,533.59 for Ralph and shares worth £77,162.05 for himself.

On February 5 a Chinese mining consortium announced a takeover agreement with Monterrico. After the announcement, Boyen sold all the Monterrico shares making a profit of £12,691.41 for Ralph and a profit of £29,482.95 for himself.

Following the FSA’s enquiries into suspicious trading prior to Monterrico’s takeover, Ralph voluntarily contacted the regulator and admitted to dealing with the benefit of inside information.

FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole says: “Mr Ralph held a position of trust as the executive chairman of Monterrico but he deliberately used inside information about his company’s takeover for financial gain. Mr Boyen misused inside information about Mr Ralph’s secret dealing to his own advantage by buying more shares for himself. This sort of self-serving behaviour by experienced business professionals has the potential to damage confidence in financial markets.

“Mr Ralph and Mr Boyen co-operated fully with our investigation by coming forward and providing us with information about market misconduct and as such we were more lenient. But for that co-operation, we would have seriously considered taking criminal proceedings.”

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