Charges filed against Morgan Stanley over Greek deal-sources

ATHENS Thu Aug 2, 2012 7:42am EDT

ATHENS Aug 2 (Reuters) - A Greek prosecutor has filed charges against investment bank Morgan Stanley for violating securities laws while acting as an adviser in a Greek bank takeover bid, court sources said on Thursday.

The prosecutor has accused Morgan Stanley of raising its stake in Greece's Alpha Bank while it advised National Bank on plans to acquire its smaller rival.

The prosecutor said Morgan Stanley used privileged information to its advantage and made inaccurate statements to the stock exchange. Both charges are misdemeanors under Greek law. Morgan Stanley had no comment on the matter.

Greece's biggest lender National Bank made an all-share bid in February last year for third-largest lender Alpha Bank, which rejected the move.

Alpha later said Morgan Stanley had increased its holding in the lender to 5.1 percent from 4.965 percent, adding that the transaction was unsolicited.

The charges against Morgan Stanley are the outcome of an investigation by prosecutors on whether talks between National Bank and Alpha were leaked for stock market speculation.

The Greek bourse briefly suspended trading in both banks' shares last year after rumours of a possible bid caused them to surge.

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