BlackRock fined for market manipulation over UniCredit stake

MILAN, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 11:38am EDT

MILAN, July 3 (Reuters) - Italian market watchdog Consob imposed a fine of 150,000 euros ($204,600) on the world's biggest money manager BlackRock for market manipulation in disclosing a reduction of its stake in Italian bank UniCredit .

The regulator said on its website on Thursday that in December 2011 BlackRock Investment Management had made an untrue report about its stake in UniCredit, ahead of the launch of a rights issue by the Italian lender.

BlackRock said on Thursday it accepted the regulator's decision, adding it had made a "technical error" when it disclosed a cut of its stake in the bank to below 2 percent.

"In January 2012, BlackRock discovered the error, reported it to the watchdog and offered to cooperate during the investigation on the case," it said in an emailed statement.

According to Consob, BlackRock's filing in December 2011 gave a "false and misleading" signal to the market at a time when Italian lenders were being hit by the euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros) (Reporting by Paola Arosio, writing by Francesca Landini)