Ex-boss of Proximus cuts a deal with prosecutors on insider trading charges

Ex-boss of Proximus cuts a deal with prosecutors on insider trading charges
Dominique Leroy. © Belga

Dominique Leroy, former CEO of telecommunications company Proximus, has come to an agreement with the Brussels prosecutor’s office to avoid charges of insider trading in Proximus shares.

Leroy will pay €107,841 to have the case against her dropped.

Last September, Leroy announced she was stepping down at Proximus to take up the job as CEO of the Dutch telecommunications firm KPN. Then it was announced she was being investigated for insider trading, when it was revealed that a month before the announcement, she had sold €285,000 in Proximus shares.

The financial services regulator FSMA opened its own investigation, on suspicion that Leroy had used her inside knowledge of her departure to avoid suffering the fall in the share price that would result from announcing her departure.

The law forbids any company executive from profiting from knowledge of a company’s business that is not made public for other shareholders. If Leroy knew at the time of the sale that she would shortly be departing, that would be considered insider trading, as the departure of a CEO is certain to have an effect on a company’s share value.

According to her lawyer speaking in May, Leroy was at the time of the sale not yet in talks with KPN, but she was discussing the extension of her contract with Proximus – the suggestion being that not only did she not know about the KPN job, she was fully invested in remaining at Proximus when she sold the shares.

In the end, neither job materialised. Leroy stepped down at Proximus, where she was replaced by Guillaume Boutin. KPN withdrew its offer to Leroy because of the legal problems. She was eventually taken on as a consultant by Bain Capital, the company of former US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, at its Brussels office.

With the payment of the settlement, she will now avoid criminal charges. The settlement first has to be confirmed by a Brussels court. In the meantime, Leroy told De Tijd, she declined to make a statement.

Alan Hope

The Brussels Times

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