Dutch court orders Van der Moolen investigation

Mon Jul 5, 2010 10:09am EDT

* Commercial court orders probe into firm's final years

* Shareholder group says 'satisfied' with probe

AMSTERDAM, July 5 (Reuters) - A Dutch commercial court on Monday ordered an investigation into the collapse of brokerage Van der Moolen, which went bankrupt last September after 117 years as a key player on global stock exchanges.

The commercial court said the investigation would look at the activities of the company and its management from the start of 2005 up to and including the bankruptcy filing.

Lawyers for Van der Moolen and its former chief executive, Richard den Drijver, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Once one of the top market makers in New York, Van der Moolen was known as "King of the Damrak" for its key role in the Dutch exchange as well. But as electronic trading grew the firm shrank, struggling to find a new business model.

It ultimately sought a place as a trader of options and derivatives, but eventually ran out of money. [ID:nLA185299]

Dutch shareholders' association VEB said in a statement it was "satisfied" with the court's ruling. The VEB and nationalised insurer ASR Nederland asked the court last December to launch the investigation. [ID:nGEE5BA03L] (Reporting by Ben Berkowitz)

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