BlackRock has defended head of European equities Nigel Bolton after Italian regulator Consob launched legal proceedings against him.
The regulator announced last Friday it has begun civil proceedings against Bolton, alleging he used non-public information in a sale of shares in Italian oil & gas company Saipem.
The sale of 10.7m shares, made between 25 January and 29 January last year, came prior to a profit warning by Saipem after market close on 29 January and thereby helped avoid client losses of €114.5 million, according to Consob.
In response, BlackRock said it had conducted its own investigation and found "no evidence to support the allegations".
"As a result of the investigation, BlackRock believes that the sale of Saipem shares was made as a fiduciary based on publicly available information that was widely disseminated in the marketplace, including negative publicity and a third-party analyst research report reducing earnings estimates, which was issued to the market before trading on January 25, 2013," the group said.
"Insider trading is abhorrent to BlackRock's values, and BlackRock does not tolerate it."
Consob also alleges that BlackRock declined to provide it with information and was an obstacle to its investigation. BlackRock said it believes it has fully co-operated with the investigation and will continue to do so.
"BlackRock believes that Bolton will not be found liable and, as a result, neither Bolton nor BlackRock will incur any penalty. None of BlackRock's clients or any of the funds managed by BlackRock will be affected by these proceedings," the fund house added.
Succeeding co-founder Simon Rogerson
Janus Henderson Global Dividend Index
More than 10 million shares allocated
Long-term strategic holding
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