The French financial regulator has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support claims of market abuse made by Covéa against Denis Kessler, Chairman and CEO of SCOR.
The French Financial markets authority informed the French Financial prosecution office that the information it has gathered does not support the charges made against Kessler.
French insurer and reinsurer SCOR’s largest shareholder, Covéa, filed the complaint on Wednesday, March 24th, citing market manipulation and misuse of corporate assets.
Covéa says that these actions were taken between September 2018 and January 2019, and includes the large share buyback of roughly 4.6 million SCOR shares for €195 million, which Covéa says was “for the sole purpose of artificially inflating the share price”.
At the time, SCOR condemned this as “a groundless move” and has now welcomed the recent judgement by the French financial markets authority.
In fact, according to SCOR, it was actually Covéa which caused a strong increase in SCOR’s share price via its press release on Sep 4th, 2018 and its second press release on Sep 27th, 2018 reiterating its interest in the company.
“This complaint clearly seems to have one single goal: to divert attention from the serious misconduct of Thierry Derez and Covéa in connection with the preparation and implementation of Covéa’s unsolicited takeover bid for SCOR in 2018,” the reinsurer said.
This is the latest in a protracted dispute between the pair, which started when SCOR rejected an €8.2 billion takeover bid from Covéa in September 2018, which it described as “hostile and unfriendly.”
In November of last year, the Paris Commercial Court ruled against Thierry Derez and Covéa for misconduct during the preparation and execution of Covéa’s attempt to acquire SCOR and ordered them to pay €19.6 million in compensation for the damage.