Deutsche Boerse CEO denies insider trading allegations

Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:46am EST
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By Edward Taylor

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The head of Deutsche Boerse said insider trading allegations against him were unfounded, pointing out that he did not determine the timing of his share purchases ahead of the announcement of merger plans with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) .

"Insider trading is against my innermost conviction," Deutsche Boerse Chief Executive Carsten Kengeter told a news conference, adding that he and the German company were cooperating fully with the public prosecutor.

The fate of a plan to create Europe's largest stock exchange is closely tied to that of Kengeter, who has negotiated a deal that would see him become chief executive of the combined group.

German prosecutors are examining whether a share purchase plan for Kengeter was created at a time when Deutsche Boerse was aware that a merger with the LSE was likely.

In December 2015 Deutsche Boerse allowed him to invest 4.5 million euros ($4.8 million) in Deutsche Boerse shares at 75 euros apiece, while granting him a further 4.5 million euros in shares. Deutsche Boerse said negotiations about a combination with LSE started in the second half of January 2016.

German police and prosecutors this month searched Kengeter's office and apartment as they investigate whether secret merger talks with LSE were already under way at the time the package was granted.

"When I purchased the shares using my own funds, I did not do so at a time of my own choosing," Kengeter said on Thursday.

"I did so between 1 and 21 December 2015 within a time-frame fixed by the supervisory board," he said, adding that the shares were subject to a holding period until the end of 2019.   Continued...

Carsten Kengeter, CEO of Deutsche Boerse talks to the media during the presentation of FinTec start-up facilities provided by Deutsche Boerse in Frankfurt, Germany, February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach