Credit Suisse banker fined $327,900 over bond issue

LONDON Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:37am EDT

A man is seen behind the entrance door of the offices of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in Canary Wharf, London, November 19, 2010. REUTERS/Simon Newman

A man is seen behind the entrance door of the offices of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in Canary Wharf, London, November 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Simon Newman

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined Nicholas Kyprios, head of Credit Suisse's (CSGN.VX) European Credit Sales business in London, 210,000 pounds ($327,900), alleging that he gave away confidential client information.

The FSA said on Tuesday that Kyprios had been given confidential information by Credit Suisse over a 2.5 billion-euro ($3.28 billion) bond issue involving UnityMedia in November 2009.

It added that although Kyprios had been told not to disclose information about the bond issue he nevertheless gave certain hints about it to a fund manager during a conversation between the two in November 2009.

The FSA said Kyprios signaled UnityMedia was potentially close to bringing a big bond issue to market, and also gave away other details about the deal, such as the potential credit rating of the issue and the fact that it was related to a merger transaction.

"While the FSA accepts that he did not set out to disclose the information, Kyprios's conduct in trying to push to the limit what he could say resulted in him crossing the line," Tracey McDermott, FSA acting director of enforcement and financial crime, said in a statement.

"His behavior was well below the standards we expect of senior market professionals who we should be able to rely on to uphold the system rather than seek to get round it. The high penalty reflects the seriousness of Kyprios's breach," she added.

The FSA said that Credit Suisse's Kyprios had agreed to settle his case at an early stage and in doing so qualified for a 30 percent discount on the financial penalty, without which his fine would have been 300,000 pounds.

Earlier this year the FSA imposed a 7.2 million pound fine on U.S. hedge fund manager David Einhorn and Einhorn's Greenlight Capital firm for the alleged use of inside information.

The FSA said Einhorn learned from a telephone conversation with a broker that British pub company Punch Taverns (PUB.L) was on the verge of a major equity fundraising, prompting Einhorn to sell down his holdings before an expected fall in the shares.

This decision allowed Einhorn to avoid losses of around 5.8 million pounds, the FSA said. ($1=0.7610 euros) ($1=0.6404 British pounds)

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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