SC wins suit in Iris share manipulation case

PETALING JAYA: The High Court has declared in favour of the Securities Commission (SC) against six foreign defendants for their role in the manipulation of Iris Corp Bhd shares in 2006, marking the end to the civil suit filed by the SC in 2008.

The SC said in a statement today, the outcome is in addition to the High Court’s earlier decision on June 16, 2017 in favour of the SC against another defendant in this suit, namely Richard Benjamin Cohen for his role in the same manipulation.

Cohen, a former research analyst at Aeneas Capital Management L.P was also ordered to pay the SC a sum of RM50,000 in costs.

Cohen and the six defendants, namely Aeneas Capital Management L.P, Priam Holdings Limited, Aeneas Portfolio Company L.P, Acadian Worldwide Inc, Thomas R. Grossman and John Suglia, are now permanently barred from trading in any counter on Bursa Malaysia.

Iris, a manufacturer of smart cards for electronic passports and electronic identification cards, was, at the material time and is still listed on Bursa Malaysia.

The SC had alleged that the defendants had colluded in the manipulation of Iris shares over a period of 44 days, causing the price of Iris shares to rise from 8 sen to a closing high of RM1.36 per share with an average of 200 million shares being traded daily over that period.

All seven defendants were declared to have conspired to manipulate the of Iris in breach of Sections 84(1), 85(1)(a) and 87A of the Securities Industry Act 1983.

Meanwhile, Iris reported a net profit of RM5.21 million for the first quarter ended June 30, 2017, compared with a net loss of RM3.95 million a year ago on lower administrative, operating and other expenses and finance costs.

Revenue for the quarter rose 28.78% to RM102.71 million from RM79.76 million a year ago due to higher revenue from the trusted identification division, which recorded a 99.2% jump in revenue to RM100.6 million from RM50.5 million a year ago.

Iris attributed the increase in revenue to higher delivery of Senegal eID cards and Nigeria ePassports during the quarter.

Iris’ share price closed unchanged at 17 sen today with a total of 1.63 million shares traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM420.22 million.

Source: The Sun Daily

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