Kurdish minister received UK market abuse emails: sources

Fri Apr 6, 2012 10:39am EDT
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By Tom Bergin and Steve Slater

LONDON (Reuters) - Ashti Hawrami, oil minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq, was the recipient of emails from a senior JP Morgan banker that the UK financial regulator this week said constituted market abuse, people familiar with the matter said.

Ian Hannam quit as JPMorgan's global chairman of equity capital markets after the FSA fined him 450,000 pounds ($712,400) for divulging privileged information in two emails in 2008. Hannam, a gruff former special forces soldier, is one of Britain's most successful investment bankers and is appealing against the fine. An independent review is likely to take at least a year to complete.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) fined Hannam in relation to an email in September 2008 to an unnamed "Mr. A", whom three sources told Reuters was Hawrami.

The email contained information about a potential takeover bid for Hannam's client, Heritage Oil. Mr A is central to the probe, as he could then have advised his organization to buy a stake in Heritage, the FSA said.

Spokesmen for Hannam, JPMorgan, the FSA and Hawrami declined to comment.

In the FSA's notice of its fine and decision this week, it said Hannam said the contents of the email were not sufficiently precise or price-sensitive to constitute inside information, and the information had already been disclosed to Mr A by Tony Buckingham, the chief executive of Heritage Oil.

Heritage declined to comment, but the FSA notice said the information disclosed by Hannam was more specific than that provided to Mr A by Buckingham.

"It is not suggested that any trades were conducted on the basis of the information disclosed by Mr Hannam," the FSA has said.   Continued...