Telefonica boss to be tried for insider trading

MADRID, April 15 (Reuters) - Telefonica TEF.MC Chairman Cesar Alierta will go on trial for alleged insider trading in 1997, before he took over at the telecom group, the Madrid Supreme Court said on Wednesday.

The court rejected arguments by the defence for Alierta and his nephew Luis Placer, at a hearing on Tuesday, that the incident had taken place too long ago for a trial to take place, a spokesman said.

The trial will begin on Thursday.

The state prosecutor is calling for a four-and-a-half year jail sentence for Alierta and four years for Placer amid accusations of insider trading when the businessman was head of former state-owned tobacco company Tabacalera.

Lawyers for Alierta and Placer have always denied their guilt in the case, which was recently ordered reopened by Madrid’s Supreme Court having been dropped by a court in 2005. (Reporting by Paul Day; editing by Elaine Hardcastle)