LONDON — The chief executive of oil services company Petrofac has been fined more than €300,000 for allegedly acting on inside information by Italian financial regulator Consob.
According to Consob, Ayman Asfari bought put options in rival oil company Saipem in anticipation of a drop in share price.
The regulator said Saipem’s then chief executive, Pietro Franco Tali, tipped Asfari off about his imminent resignation, ahead of the official announcement.
Asfari bought the put options on 5th December 2012, just hours before Tali unexpectedly resigned. Two days later, after Saipem’s shares had fallen, he sold the options for almost five times what he bought them for, making a €302,506 profit.
Consob has ordered Asfari to pay a €300,000 fine and a €385,000 confiscation order, and banned him from taking on any managerial or supervisory roles in Italian listed companies for 12 months. Asfari has denied any wrongdoing, and said the regulator had come to its conclusions without first notifying him of the charges or giving him a chance to defend himself.
“I was shocked and surprised to receive notification of the outcome of an investigation from Consob,” Asfari said in a statement. “The investigation followed its course with no input from me or my lawyers and I now welcome the opportunity to put the record straight.”
“I can show irrefutable evidence that such a meeting never took place, or any other communication at the time, and I can unequivocally confirm I was never in possession of any inside information,” he said.
According to his spokesperson, Asfari had “not the slightest inkling” that Tali planned to resign, and bought the options based on his knowledge of the sector, The Times reported.