Ex-Worldspreads chief Foley faces ¤730,000 fine
The UK Financial Conduct Authority said yesterday that it was seeking to fine the former chief executive of collapsed spread-betting firm Worldspreads, Conor Foley, £658,900 (¤730,160) for market abuse and to ban him from performing any roles in a regulated financial firm.
Worldspreads, founded by the Irish man, floated on the London AIM market in August 2007. The Dublin-based business collapsed with debts of £32 million in 2012 after the discovery of financial irregularities. Spread betting allows players to bet on the movement of stock market indices, share prices, commodity values, currencies, asset values and sports results.
The FCA’s so-called decision notice, which is essentially a proposal, on Mr Foley will now come before an independent judicial body, known as the Upper Tribunal, where both sides will present their cases. The tribunal will ultimately decide on the matter and refer this back to the FCA for final action.
Mr Foley, through a spokesman, said that as he had the right to appeal, he would not be commenting at this time.
The FCA said it considered that Worldspreads’ flotation documents, which Mr Foley was involved in drafting in 2007, “contained misleading information and omitted key information that investors would have needed to make an informed decision about the company”.
In particular, the documentation did not mention that some Worldspreads executives had made significant loans to the company and its subsidiaries that were never disclosed in annual accounts, it said.
The FCA alleges that between January 2010 and March 2012, “large spread bets” were placed on Worldspreads’ shares by accounts of clients on terms that went against credit policy of the group.