Ex-KPMG Auditor Guilty of Insider Trading on Swiss Takeover
(Bloomberg) -- A former KPMG auditor was convicted of insider trading by Switzerland’s top criminal court over trades he made in 2011 on an undisclosed takeover bid.
Daniel Senn was fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,050) by Switzerland’s federal criminal court and faces a further penalty of 68,800 francs if he breaks the terms of his two-year probation, the court in Bellinzona, Switzerland ruled in a brief written decision on Thursday.
Senn will also have to reimburse 29,000 francs to the Swiss government for profits he made from his trades and pay court costs of a further 13,192 francs. He was indicted last month on suspicions that, as a KPMG auditor, he received “direct knowledge of confidential information” relating to a takeover bid and made trades over four days in September 2011 that netted him profits of 29,073 francs.
No telephone number for Daniel Senn was listed online and the decision didn’t include the name of any lawyer representing him at the verdict.
“We unequivocally condemn the actions that led to this sentence, which are against the ethics and values of KPMG Switzerland, our partners and our employees,” KPMG said in a statement, stressing that it wasn’t a party to the case.
While the court didn’t disclose the names of the companies involved in the proposed takeover, the Neue Zuercher Zeitung reported it related to Julius Baer Group’s bid for a smaller Swiss rival. Senn worked for KPMG from 2007 to 2013 and was lead auditor of Julius Baer, according to the NZZ.
Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, considered buying Bank Sarasin as late as November 2011 as other bidders including Safra Group weighed offers for Basel-based Sarasin. Within a year Safra completed its purchase of a 50.15 percent stake in Sarasin in August 2012 and agreed to buy all its outstanding Class B registered shares.
Senn apparently placed an initial bet on Sarasin by buying 2,000 shares for about $50,000 according to the NZZ. Shortly thereafter, he doubled his bet, but placed the stock purchases in the name of his children, the paper reported.
U.S. Republican Congressman Christopher Collins was indicted Wednesday for insider trading. In a twist on the family angle, he is accused of tipping his son to negative trial results for a drugmaker where he sat on the board, prompting the son to sell his shares and alert others who did the same.
Like in neighboring France where insider trading is typically dealt with as a civil violation, Switzerland rarely hands down harsh prison sentences even if the offense is considered criminal. Insider trading carries a maximum sentence of three years or a fine in Switzerland, which can rise to five years or a fine if the illegal profit exceeds 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million).
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