DUBAI/KUWAIT, March 3 A Kuwaiti court has fined
the chairman of Al Ahli Bank, the country's eighth
largest bank by market capitalisation, 1.5 million dinars ($5.3
million) over alleged insider trading in the bank's shares.
The Court of First Instance fined Ahmed Yousef Behbehani, a
member of a powerful Kuwaiti business family, after a complaint
by the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), Al Ahli said in a
statement posted on the stock exchange website.
Behbehani said he was not guilty of wrongdoing and will
appeal against the ruling to Kuwait's Court of Appeal, Al Ahli
The CMA said there was a "suspicion that traders conducted
transactions in the official stock market based on inside
information related to the shares of Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait",
according to the bank's statement.
Al Ahli did not give details of the allegations against
Behbehani and said the court had not yet disclosed the reasoning
behind its judgement.
The bank did not respond to requests for further comment
from Reuters or to efforts to contact Behbehani. Contacted by
telephone, the CMA said it could not immediately comment on the
Shares in Al Ahli, which has a market capitalisation of
about $2.5 billion, fell 3.5 percent on Monday.
A Reuters survey of a dozen international fund managers last
month found they ranked Kuwait lowest among five big Middle
Eastern markets for enforcement of regulations against improper
or illicit trading.
The CMA, which began operating in 2011, aims to change that
and in recent months has been targeting suspected illicit
activity in the market more aggressively, fund managers said.
"The CMA has been active in the last few months and is
cracking down on insider and illegitimate trading," said Fouad
Abdulrahman Alhadlaq, deputy general manager at Al Dar Asset
Management. "It has suspended a few big speculators and they
can't buy and sell in the market."
(Reporting by Nadia Saleem and Sylvia Westall; Editing by
Andrew Torchia, Greg Mahlich and Louise Heavens)