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Donnini’s Suspension for Insider Trading Reduced

September-18-2003

Area Corporate Finance and Securities, White Collar Risk Management and Investigations

Summary

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Divisional Court) has reduced the 15-year suspension for insider trading imposed by the Ontario
Securities Commission (OSC) on Piergiorgio Donnini, the former head liability and institutional trader at Yorkton Securities Inc., to four years.

Although the Court did not overturn the OSC’s conclusion that Donnini had breached insider trading laws, and showed deference to the OSC’s expertise in reaching that decision, the Court’s tone was critical of the sanction imposed by the OSC, stating that the penalty “does not stand up to a somewhat probing analysis.”  The Court also disapproved of statements by the OSC panel indicating that the severity of the penalty was in part due to Donnini’s failure to acknowledge  the impropriety of his conduct (having failed to settle the matter with the Commission), emphasizing that “Donnini was entitled to defend himself.”  The ruling may begin to address concerns in the marketplace following the OSC Donnini decision about the severity of penalties imposed and the particularly severe consequences of choosing to contest (rather than settle) OSC charges.
 

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