December 8, 2010 / 5:21 PM / 7 years ago

Danish watchdog asks for probe of Topdanmark, Danisco

COPENHAGEN, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Denmark’s financial market regulator said on Wednesday it asked police to investigate whether Danish insurer Topdanmark TOP.CO and food ingredients and enzymes group Danisco DCO.CO broke the law on disclosure of insider information.

The case stems from the publication by Reuters of Topdanmark’s first-quarter results in May 2010 and Danisco’s half-year results in December 2009.

Reuters found the interim reports on the companies’ websites and published news reports on the results before the companies had published links on their home pages.

The Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) called for a police investigation of whether Topdanmark and Danisco breached provisions of the Securities Trading Act.

“In both cases ... the results announcements were publicly available on the companies’ websites before they were issued as company announcements,” it said.

“And in both cases, it has been possible to get access to the announcements before they were issued by guessing the URL addresses,” the FSA said, following a review by the Danish Securities Council, which enforces compliance with regulatons.

Ahead of the FSA statement, Topdanmark said in a statement it had been a victim of what it called “URL hacking”. It said it had not broken the law and did not agree with a decision it expected from the FSA to turn the case over to the police.

Reuters, owned by Thomson Reuters TRI.N TRI.TO, said it rejected the allegation it had hacked into Topdanmark’s website.

Reuters said it noted the statement on Wednesday from the FSA, which cleared the news and data provider of any wrongdoing. “Reuters has always maintained that our journalists acted legitimately and appropriately when reporting on these companies,” a spokesman said.

The FSA said that it was listed companies’ responsibility to ensure insider information was published correctly.

“Companies shall ensure that preliminary company announcements are kept confidential until the documents are final and can be communicated to the market so that all (market participants) can trade under the same conditions,” the head of the FSA’s securities division, Hanne Rae Larsen, said in the statement.

Danisco said it had communicated with the FSA and denied that the unintended possibility of accessing its results constituted a breach of the Securities Trading Act. It said it did not intend to make further comments to the press while the matter was pending.

Editing by Chris Wickham

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