The AMF fining body said there were clues to suggest that Perelli-Cippo told his friend during a March 1, 2016 dinner that the Marnier-Lapostolle family shareholders were poised to sell their stake. The regulators highlighted that the dinner took place the same day as a Campari board meeting and that Blei opened a securities account the following day, acquiring Grand Marnier shares later in the week. Blei made about 34,000 euros from the trades.
Campari announced mid-March 2016 that it had agreed to buy Grand Marnier, whose signature drink is often used to make Cosmopolitan cocktails, in a deal valuing the French cognac maker at 684 million euros. The acquisition was the first for Campari since 2014, and the biggest since
Romuald Cohana, a lawyer for Blei, said his client will likely appeal his fine. “We are astounded by such a lack of critical thinking and such indiscriminate application of the body of clues method which poses real legal problems,” he said.
A lawyer for Perelli-Cippo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
For investigators, hard evidence of secretive insider dealings such as wire-tap recordings or emails is difficult to come by. French law allows the AMF to build cases by relying on a consistent body of clues so long as these show that only a person with insider information could have entered into such transactions.
Three other men were also tripped up in the AMF case.
In another segment of the case, an analyst in the beverages sector,
Frédéric Peltier, a lawyer for Aubourg, said his client will appeal the decision, which the attorney says is contrary to the AMF enforcement committee’s case law. Monnet said he would probably not appeal the penalty. A lawyer for de Bournet didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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