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Billionaire Roekke’s Aker Probed by Norway for Insider Trading

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Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Kjell Inge Roekke’s Aker ASA is being probed for potentially violating insider trading rules in a November transaction of shares in Aker Solutions ASA.

A case has been turned over to Norway’s economic and environmental crimes authority, the Oslo-based Financial Supervisory Authority said. It would have no further comment.

The investigation centers on a total-return-swap agreement, Aker said in a statement. The swap was extended Nov. 1, three weeks before Aker Solutions, of which Aker is a majority owner, announced asset sales of about $650 million.

“In hindsight, the choice of TRS as a funding solution wasn’t ideal for a long-term investment like this one,” Aker Chairman Roekke said in the statement. “We believe this extension doesn’t represent a breach of insider-trading legislation. Should we nevertheless have done something wrong, the responsibility lies with me.”

Less than a month after the TRS agreement was extended, Aker Solutions, whose Executive Chairman Oeyvind Eriksen is chief executive officer of Aker, announced the sale of its well-interventions services unit for 4 billion kroner ($652 million). A few days later, Aker also acquired about 16.5 million shares in Aker Solutions, or about 6 percent of the company.

Aker, two-thirds owned by Roekke, controls indirectly or directly 34 percent of Aker Solutions.

A total return swap is an agreement by which a party makes payments based on a set rate while the other party makes payments based on the return of an underlying asset.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mikael Holter in Oslo at mholter2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net