Petrofac’s group CEO, Ayman Asfari, has said he is “shocked and surprised” to have been fined by the Italian National Commission for Companies & the Stock Exchange (CONSOB) relating to a past personal dealing in securities of an Italian-listed company.
In May 2017, following Marwan Chedid’s suspension from his role as chief operating officer at the oil services company, in the wake of an investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) looking into suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering, Ayman Asfari continued in his role as CEO. He was, however, excluded from any investigation into the SFO case.
Petrofac said that CONSOB had now alleged and determined that an executive of the Italian-listed company passed inside information to Asfari, and that Asfari had subsequently acted on that information by trading in the securities of the Italian company.
CONSOB has imposed an administrative fine of €300,000, plus a 12-month disqualification from taking up, among other things, administrative, management or supervisory positions in any Italian-listed companies. It also made an order confiscating property with a value of €385,000.
Asfari said, “I was shocked and surprised to receive notification of the outcome of an investigation from CONSOB. The documentation revealed an investigation was launched by CONSOB into a transaction involving shares of a listed Italian company I made in 2012.”
He said it now appeared there had been an unsuccessful attempt to notify him of the investigation in mid-2016.
“I never received a notification from CONSOB with the notice of charges, therefore I did not have the chance to defend myself.
“Naturally, I would have responded immediately to the regulator and defended myself vigorously at the time, had I been notified of the investigation. Instead, the investigation followed its course with no input from me or my lawyers, and I now welcome the opportunity to put the record straight.”
He said he would provide evidence to the regulator showing their findings were completely unfounded.
“The premise of CONSOB’s case was that I met with an Italian executive who provided inside information. I can show irrefutable evidence that such a meeting never took place, or any other communication at that time, and I can unequivocally confirm I was never in possession of any inside information.
“I look forward to this matter being resolved fairly and correctly once CONSOB is in possession of all the facts,” he added.
Rijnhard van Tets, Petrofac’s chairman, said, “The board fully supports Ayman in his defence against this decision, the steps he is taking to prove that in no way did he act improperly, and his leadership of the company at this difficult time.”