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 Iraqi Kurdistan govt KRG confirms received UK "market abuse" emails

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Iraqi Kurdistan govt KRG confirms received UK "market abuse" emails  8.4.2012  








Ashti Hawrami (L), oil minister of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq, Ian Hannam, a senior JP Morgan banker and former territorial army captain. Also in 2009 Ashti Hawrami accused of buying stocks worth $35 million in DNO International ASA. See Ashti Hawrami Related Links
April 8, 2012

ERBIL-Hewlęr, Kurdistan region 'Iraq', — The government of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq has confirmed that it received emails from a senior JP Morgan banker that the UK financial regulator said constituted market abuse.

The banker, Ian Hannam, who was JPMorgan's London-based global chairman of equity capital markets, was later fined 450,000 pounds ($712,400) by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and has since resigned.

Sources had told Reuters on Friday that Ashti Hawrami, Minister of Natural Resources for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), was the previously unidentified "Mr. A" who received emails from Hannam containing privileged information on the banker's client, Heritage Oil. The FSA said the information could have been used to unfair advantage in the markets.

The KRG said it had contact with Hannam "at various levels" during the period when the emails were sent.

"The KRG confirms that the information identified by the FSA contained in the two emails was unsolicited, and further confirms that neither the KRG, nor any representative of the KRG,www.ekurd.net responded to that information or took any action as a result of that information," it said on Saturday [See KRG statement].

The first email, sent in September 2008 to Mr A, contained information about a potential takeover bid for Heritage, while a second, a month later, was sent to Mr. A and an unidentified Mr. B and included information on an oil find Heritage had made.

The FSA said the email to Mr. A represented a serious matter partly because Mr. A could have advised his organisation to buy a stake in Heritage.

Around the time of the emails, the KRG did buy a stake in another Kurdish-focused explorer, Norway's DNO International .

Hannam, a gruff former special forces soldier, is one of Britain's most successful investment bankers and is appealing against the fine.

Heritage has declined requests to comment on the matter.

The Kurdistan region has emerged as an area of keen interest for international oil companies after years when it was mainly only a focus for small, independent players such as Heritage.

However, the area's image has been damaged by a series of high-profile lawsuits and regulatory probes in Norway and the UK.

A spokesman for the KRG declined to provide further details on the matter.

"The KRG considers this to be a UK regulatory matter between the FSA and Mr Hannam, and has nothing further to add," the statement added.

Spokesmen for Hannam and JPMorgan have declined to comment.

KRG statement on FSA Decision Notice dated 27 February 2012 related to Mr Ian Charles Hannam

There have been media reports regarding a decision by the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) against Mr Ian Hannam, a senior banker at JP Morgan. The FSA Decision Notice refers to two emails sent by Mr Hannam.

The Decision Notice does not identify the Kurdistan Regional Government as the recipient of the emails,www.ekurd.net referring instead to 'Organisation C' and a 'Mr A'. However, some media reports have revealed these to be, respectively, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and KRG Minister of Natural Resources Dr Hawrami.

In these circumstances the KRG would like to clarify the following:

Mr Hannam had contact with the KRG at various levels in 2008. One of Mr Hannam’s clients was Heritage, an oil company with a production sharing contract in the Kurdistan Region.

The FSA decision refers to two emails that were sent by Mr Hannam to 'Mr A'. The FSA notes that no action was taken by any party based on those emails.

The KRG confirms that the information identified by the FSA contained in the two emails was unsolicited, and further confirms that neither the KRG, nor any representative of the KRG, responded to that information or took any action as a result of that information.

The KRG considers this to be a UK regulatory matter between the FSA and Mr Hannam, and has nothing further to add.

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, Reuters | krg.org  


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