Former ambassador fined for insider trading

Richard Ralph speaks at the 7th World Copper Conference in Santiago, April 10, 2008. REUTERS/Victor Ruiz Caballero

LONDON (Reuters) - Richard Ralph, a former ambassador to Peru, has been fined 118,000 pounds for insider trading last year in a mining company of which he was executive chairman, the financial watchdog said.

The Financial Services Authority said on Thursday that Ralph and a friend, Filip Boyen who was fined 82,000 pounds, had dealt in London-listed Monterrico Metals’ shares in January 2007 on the basis of inside information.

FSA director of enforcement Margaret Cole said Boyen and Ralph had co-operated fully with its investigation “by coming forward and providing us with information about market misconduct and as such we were more lenient.

“But for that co-operation, we would have seriously considered taking criminal proceedings.”

In January 2007, Monterrico was known to be in takeover talks, whose details were confidential. The FSA said that on about January 28, 2007 Ralph had asked Boyen to buy 30,000 pounds worth of shares in the company.

On February 5 2007, a Chinese mining consortium announced a takeover agreement with Monterrico, and Boyen sold his shares.

The FSA later began an investigation into suspicious trading prior to the takeover announcement, at which point Boyen and Ralph came forward.

The financial penalties for Ralph and Boyen are made up of the disgorgement of their profits and additional penalties of 105,000 pounds and 52,500 pounds respectively, the FSA said.

Reporting by Dan Lalor; Editing by Hans Peters