Cyprus watchdog imposes a €650K fine on Commerzbank for market manipulation

Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission imposed €650,000 on Germany’s Commerzbank for its role in transactions executed by the Cyprus Popular Bank (CPB) that collapsed during the country’s 2013 financial crisis.

The CySEC investigation found that Commerzbank had been sanctioned for investment operations carried out by the CPB in 2011 (also known as Laiki). The events followed Laiki’s merger with Greece’s Marfin-Egnatia Bank.

CySEC stated that the CPB invested in two structured products issued by Commerzbank AG in 2008. Marfin-Egnatia was initially appointed as index sponsor, in charge of the composition of the portfolio. With the 2011 merger between Marfin-Egnatia and CPB, CPB became the index sponsor and thus created a conflict of interest.

CySEC fines

The Cyprus watchdog alleged that CPB and Commerzbank acted “in concert to manipulate the market” regarding CPB’s shares in April and May 2011.

CySEC imposed a €650,000 fine to Commerzbank AG for the violations. The Cyprus securities regulator decided not to impose a fine on CPB because it is s under special administration since 2013 and did not want to further burden on former depositors, bond holders and shareholders.

CySEC Chair Demetra Kalogerou, commented:

CySEC Chair Demetra Kalogerou

Demetra Kalogerou

This investigation formed part of CySEC’s extensive investigation into CPB’s activities and role in the run up to the financial crisis and subsequent bail-in of the Cyprus banking sector in 2013. with this decision CySec has finally completed all the investigations concernig that period of time.

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