Police search German, Swiss offices in insider trading probe

FRANKFURT Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:40pm EST

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FRANKFURT Feb 25 (Reuters) - Police searched about 50 homes and offices in Germany and Switzerland on Tuesday in an investigation into suspected insider trading worth several millions of euros, police in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said.

They seized documents, mobile phones, computers and electronic storage media in Switzerland and eight German states, with a particular focus on Hesse, home to Germany's financial capital Frankfurt.

Authorities suspect 23 individuals aged 32-64 of insider trading ahead of takeover deals. They did not name the people or the companies involved.

"It is still unknown who passed on information about future takeovers to this group of people," Baden-Wuerttemberg's state criminal office said in a statement.

About 150 police officers took part in the searches, joined by 20 officials from German financial watchdog Bafin and eight public prosecutors, the statement said.

Stuttgart public prosecutors had previously launched an investigation against some of the individuals in 2008, but the probe was stopped due to lack of evidence, police said. (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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