Munich Prosecutors Conduct Raids in Insider-Trading Case

Munich prosecutors conducted 86 raids in Germany and other countries yesterday in a probe of stock fraud, market manipulation, breach of trust and insider trading.

Fifty-three raids took place in Germany, 29 in other European countries and four outside Europe, Thomas Steinkraus-Koch, a spokesman for Munich prosecutors, said in an e-mail. Several people are being investigated, he said, declining to identify them or the stock involved. The operation was handled by 11 prosecutors, 10 employees at financial regulator Bafin and 200 police officers.

Munich prosecutors have previously investigated fraud where suspects used publications to inflate the price of penny stocks. Earlier this year, prosecutors won convictions of several people involved in a scheme using a newsletter for small investors.

“We are looking into allegations that share prices may have been manipulated by using publications,” he said. “Because that case is pending, we can’t say more now. We are just at the beginning.”

Steinkraus-Koch said while the new probe is bigger as more suspects are concerned, similar methods were used in the earlier cases his office handled. The shares are mostly those of smaller and lesser-known companies, he said.

“It’s easier to influence the shares prices of small companies this way,” he said. “It would be much more difficult to do it with the stock of huge corporations.”

Munich prosecutors asked investigators in other nations to help in the probe, he said, without adding more details.

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