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Congratulations to Securities Commission

Congratulations to Securities Commission & Michael Beard

Thursday 23 Dec 2004

Stephen Franks - Press Releases - Crime & Justice

ACT Justice spokesman Stephen Franks today congratulated the Securities Commission and Michael Beard for settling the TranzRail insider trading prosecution of Mr Beard.

"I am sure that the commission must have been tempted to press on to secure a `conviction' notch in its belt. I know from experience that a speedy resolution with payment of a substantial sum tells the market that insider trading is not worthwhile, yet the commission has faced repeated political carping by ignorant Labour Commerce Ministers because no insider trading prosecutions have been taken to conclusion. They choose to ignore the proceedings successfully settled.

"As recently as the last week in Parliament, former Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson was justifying her new bill to change insider trading law yet again, this time in an attempt to ape the unsuccessful Australian model, on the grounds that there had been no `successful prosecutions' in New Zealand.

"With Ms Wilson's lack of practical experience she must have been dismissing the advice of officials. They would know that courts discourage malicious continuation of proceedings when a prompt, public and generous settlement is offered. In addition, such a settlement sends stronger messages than a drawn-out contest enriching the lawyers.

"I am not surprised that Mr Beard has chosen to get this matter out of the way. From my dealings as a lawyer with him many years ago I believe him to be honest. Given the evidence that he was not simply dumping shares in light of his insider knowledge the commercial community will consider that he has paid a very high price for conduct that many will consider did not cross the ethical bar that should distinguish insider trading from lawful trading," Mr Franks said.


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