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Wyser-Pratte ‘Strongly Denies’ Insider Trading Claims by EEM

Guy Wyser-Pratte “strongly denies” accusations of insider trading made against him by Francois Gontier, chief executive officer of French investment company Electricite et Eaux de Madagascar. (EEM)

The New York-based investor didn’t use privileged information in making share purchases, as Gontier alleged in a complaint to French prosecutors, according to Wyser-Pratte’s Paris lawyer, Antoine Arebalo-Camus.

Wyser-Pratte “is perfectly serene,” said Arebalo-Camus, who hasn’t seen the original complaint, just a report today in Investir magazine. “He strongly denies these allegations, which are silly and make no sense at all,” and is considering suing for defamation, the lawyer said in a phone interview.

Wyser-Pratte joined the EEM board in June and filed a complaint alleging misuse of corporate funds and improper accounting at the company. The report of the complaint comes a month before an EEM shareholder meeting which will consider a resolution to remove him from the board, according to an agenda released today.

Gontier denied any allegations related to the timing of the complaint ahead of the meeting, he said in a phone interview today. Separately, EEM said the complaint was prompted by new information and that Wyser-Pratte has been working with other shareholders to pressure EEM management.

Wyser-Pratte owns a 13 percent stake in EEM directly and controls 24.6 percent of the voting rights in an accord with other shareholders.

France’s financial markets regulator, the Autorite des Marches Financiers, has been reviewing EEM market disclosures for over a year, Camus said, and has questioned Wyser-Pratte about various share purchases. If the AMF had found evidence of wrongdoing, it would have been obliged to report it to the prosecutors directly, Arebalo-Camus said.

Gontier said the AMF inquiry is “completely separate.”

Calls to the Paris prosecutors and AMF for comment weren’t immediately returned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Heather Smith in Paris at hsmith26@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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