SEC to file criminal raps vs 10 people for share trade fraud

MANILA, Philippines - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is filing criminal charges against at least 10 individuals who were involved in the alleged manipulation of the stock price of listed agribusiness firm Calata Corp.

In a briefing with reporters on Friday, November 9, SEC Chairperson Teresita Herbosa said the Commission has completed the first phase of its investigation into trading in Calata's stock last October 31.

"We already drafted the criminal complaint with respect to the first batch of respondents," Herbosa said.

"The other people or entities that may have been involved... or maybe not part of that first group will also have to be investigated and that is why this is far from finished," she said.

Herbosa is confident that criminal charges against these people will "stick" because the evidence gathered during the 4-month investigation the SEC conducted was of high quality.

Herbosa said the Commission will file the criminal charges at the Department of Justice (DOJ) even if the list of names of all those involved is not yet complete. She explained that these "John Does" can be properly identified later.

Securities regulators investigated trading in Calata after they monitored a suspicious spike in its share price two weeks after its market debut.

Calata held on May 23 an initial public offering of shares for P7.50 apiece. It closed at P7.70 per share the same day. From May 23 until June 4, the company's shares skyrocketed 219% to P23.95. -