Bîlteanu is considering disputing the charges of acting in concert at SIF Banat-Crişana

ADINA ARDELEANU (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 21 martie 2014

Bîlteanu is considering disputing the charges of acting in concert at SIF Banat-Crişana

Dragoş Bîlteanu, the CEO of SIF1 Banat-Crişana, is considering disputing the rulings of the Financial Oversight Authority (ASF), which determined that the parties of the group which comprises Dragoş Bîlteanu himself, El Lakis Najib and the companies Romenergo, Smalling and Gardner (registered in Cyprus) was acting in concert.

ASF has forced the shareholders which presumably were acting in concert at SIF Banat-Crişana to sell 6.72% of the shares of the company and to therefore abide by the holding cap of 5%, within three months.

Also, the ASF has decided to restrict the voting rights of the group in question.

When asked if he was considering challenging the decisions of the Authority, Dragoş Bîlteanu told us: "Yes. Because this creates by default a new abusive rule - namely that the members of the Board of Directors of a SIF are implicitly and definitively considered to be acting in concert. That would mean that if two shareholders each have a representative on the Board of Directors of a SIF, from the moment the latter are appointed, the shareholders in question are acting in concert and they have to reduce their holdings. Or in other words, to make a long story short, all the shareholders that will vote to elect the members of the Board of Directors will no longer have the ability to hold more than 5% after that".

When establishing the acting in concert, the ASF took under consideration the fact that Smalling Limited and Gardner Limited bought SIF Banat-Crişana shares using money borrowed from Cahuita Limited.

The real beneficiary of Cahuita Limited is Ali H. Lakis of Lebanon, according to information provided by the Financial Oversight Authority in Cyprus and obtained with the help of Bank of Cyprus, the decision by the ASF states.

Ali H. Lakis is also a member of the Board of Directors of SIF1, and Najib El Lakis and Dragoş Bîlteanu have announced themselves as insiders of "Romenergo".

According to information provided by the ASF, Gardner Limited holds 3.21% of the shares of SIF1, and Smalling Limited holds 3.94%.

The decisions of the ASF come just a few weeks after the Authority levied fines of 70,000 lei against Swiss Capital, for the failure to report trades involving SIF 1 shares, which are suspected of having allowed the manipulation of the market, made by one of the customers of the brokerage firm, performed in September 2013. The price of SIF1 shares rose spectacularly in the last minutes of the session of Friday, September 13, 2013, and on Monday, September 16th, 6.27% of SIF1 exchanged hands at a price that was 14% higher.

When asked whether Smalling Limited or Gardner Limited have acquired shares of SIF1, in September, the representatives of the ASF told us: "The identity of those who have conducted trades on September 16th, 2013, traded which were the object of an investigation by the ASF, is not public. We remind you that, following that investigation, the ASF has uncovered clues of regulation infringement and decided the appropriate measures. The ASF also levied sanctions against the representatives of the brokerage firm which intermediated those suspicious trades for failing to report them".

In a recent interview granted to BURSA, ASF vice-president Mircea Ursache told us that the Authority no longer has any duties in sanctioning market abuse and manipulation. Starting with February 1st, 2014 - together with the coming into effect of the new Criminal Code - these offenses can only be tried by the DIICOT.

Mr. Ursache did not outright say that the prosecutors have been notified about the trades involving SIF1 shares, but he did make the following statement: "The DIICOT has been notified, in every case which the Oversight Department has reported to our market abuse division, to which it considered the new legislation was applicable, after their review".

Dragoş Bîlteanu told us that he has no information concerning the holdings of Smalling Limited and Gardner Limited or whether any of those companies bought the blocks of SIF1 shares which were traded on September 16th, 2013.

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