Chapitre 8. Delits d'initiés Jean-Jacques Degroof et FRancis Degroof

 

La Securities and Exchange Commission a publié en 2002 un avis concernant une action contre deux personnes coupables d'insider trading sur les actions Delhaize America en septembre 2000. Il s'agit de Jean-Jacques Degroof et Francis Degroof, les fils de Marcel Degroof qui était administrateur de Delhaize et ex-propriétaire de la Banque Degroof. En plus du remboursement des profits réalisés soit  135674 dollars, ils ont eu une amende pour un montant identique.

Le communiqué de la SEC précise que cette transaction s'est faite sans que Jean-Jacques et Francis Degroof n'aient ni admis ni démenti.

 

Jean-Jacques Degroof et Francis Degroof, ont été poursuivis par la SEC pour avoir acheté une importante quantité d'actions Delhaize America juste avant l'annonce le 7 septembre 2000 de l'offre publique d'échange de ces actions par la maison mère belge, Delhaize Le Lion. La SEC révèle que Jean-Jacques Degroof a acheté quelque 39300 actions Delhaize America les 5 et 6 septembre 2000 sur le New York Stock Exchange. Et le 5 septembre, Francis Degroof en achetait 25000. Au total, un peu plus de 900.000 dollars. La SEC affirma qu'ils avaient connaissance d'informations non publiques à propos de l'offre de rachat envisagée qui furent obtenues contre les principes de confidentialité observés en matière de gestion d'entreprises cotées.

 

Le 6 septembre 2000, le principe du rachat par Delhaize des 55 pc d'actions Delhaize America non détenues était étudié par la direction du groupe belge. Le 6 septembre, la décision était prise de proposer 0,35 action Delhaize pour chaque action Delhaize America. Le même jour, la direction de Delhaize America était informée des termes de l'offre. L'annonce officielle devait avoir lieu le lendemain, le 7 septembre 2000.

 

L'opération a propulsé de 15 pc les actions Delhaize America, permettant a Jean-Jacques Degroof et Francis Degroof de réaliser respectivement 85674 et 50000 dollars de bénéfices. L'enquête de la SEC a permis de remonter jusqu'à Jean-Jacques Degroof et Francis Degroof qui ont accepté la condamnation du gendarme boursier américain.

 

Dans son arrêt, la SEC précise que Jean-Jacques Degroof et Francis Degroof ont utilisé les comptes qu’ils détenaient à la Banque de Luxembourg pour cette opération. Il s'agit de la même banque qui abritait les comptes des sociétés panaméennes de la famille Degroof.

 

Lien vers l’arrêt de la SEC :

 

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/complr17554.htm

 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

 

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION,

Plaintiff,

v.

JEAN-JACQUES DEGROOF and
FRANCIS DEGROOF,

Defendants.

 

02 Civ. No. _______

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission") alleges:

INTRODUCTION

1. This is an insider trading case involving violations of antifraud provisions of federal securities laws. In September 2000, the defendants purchased securities of Delhaize America, Inc. while in possession of material, nonpublic information concerning a contemplated buyout offer for Delhaize America, Inc. when they knew or recklessly disregarded the fact that the information about the contemplated buyout had been communicated to them, directly or indirectly, through a breach of a fiduciary duty of trust and confidence. When the buyout offer was publicly announced on September 7, 2000, the price of Delhaize America, Inc.'s securities increased by approximately 15 per cent, giving the defendants illegal profits of $135,674.

2. The Commission seeks disgorgement of all ill-gotten gains plus prejudgment interest thereon, civil money penalties and permanent injunctions against further violations of certain antifraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

3. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to Sections 21(e), 21A and 27 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") [15 U.S.C. §§ 78u(e), 78u-1 and 78aa].

4. Defendants directly or indirectly made use of the means or instrumentalities of interstate commerce, or of the mails, or the facilities of a national securities exchange in connection with the transactions, acts, practices and courses of business alleged herein.

5. This Court properly has venue over this action because the securities transactions at issue herein were executed through the facilities of the New York Stock Exchange in the Southern District of New York.

6. Defendants will, unless restrained and enjoined, continue to engage in the acts, practices and courses of business alleged herein, or in transactions, acts, practices and courses of business of similar purport and object.

THE DEFENDANTS

7. Defendant Jean Jacques Degroof, age 46, is a resident of Brussels, Belgium.

8. Defendant Francis Degroof, age 44, is a resident of the French West Indies and is the brother of defendant Jean Jacques Degroof.

RELATED ENTITIES

9. Delhaize Le Lion" ("Delhaize Group"), is an international food retailer headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. Prior to the buyout offer, Delhaize Group owned approximately 45% of the outstanding shares of Delhaize America, Inc.

10. Delhaize America, Inc. was, at all material times, a New York Stock Exchange listed company headquartered in Salisbury, North Carolina, engaged in the business of operating supermarkets. Shares of Delhaize America, Inc. were registered with the Commission.

THE BUYOUT OFFER BY DELHAIZE GROUP

11. On January 7, 2000, the board of directors of Delhaize Group authorized a study regarding the feasibility of purchasing substantially all of the shares of Delhaize America, Inc. not owned by Delhaize Group. On February 25, 2000, the board concluded that it would not be feasible or practical to pursue the contemplated buyout and decided not to complete the study. On June 23, 2000, the board again considered the possibility of a buyout of Delhaize America, Inc. and again authorized a formal feasibility study which commenced on July 10, 2000.

12. On September 3, 2000, the study was discussed at an informal meeting between management and a majority of the directors of Delhaize Group.

13. On September 6, 2000, the board of directors of Delhaize Group met and decided to make an offer to purchase all of the shares of Delhaize America, Inc. not owned by Delhaize Group. Specifically, Delhaize Group determined to offer 0.35 shares of Delhaize Le Lion in exchange for each share of Delhaize America, Inc.

14. On September 6, 2000, Delhaize Group informed Delhaize America, Inc. of its offer.

15. On September 7, 2000, Delhaize America, Inc. issued a press release announcing the terms of the offer it had received from Delhaize Le Lion.

THE DEFENDANTS' PURCHASES OF DELHAIZE STOCK

16. On September 5, 2000, defendant Jean Jacques Degroof purchased 20,000 shares of Delhaize America, Inc. at an average price of $15.35 per share, and on September 6, 2000, he purchased an additional 10,000 shares at $16.187 per share and 9,300 shares at 16.4374 per share for a total of 39,300 shares. He purchased the shares in accounts he maintained at Banque de Luxembourg and at Banque Paribas in Luxembourg.

17. On September 5, 2000, defendant Francis Degroof purchased 25,000 shares at an average price of $16.00 per share in an account he maintained at Banque de Luxembourg.

18. As a result of the announcement of the buyout offer, the market price of Delhaize America, Inc. shares increased by approximately 15 %, resulting in illegal profits of $85,674 for Jean Jacques Degroof and $50,000 for Francis Degroof.

CAUSE OF ACTION

Violations of Exchange Act Section 10(b) and
Rule 10b-5 Promulgated Thereunder

19. Paragraphs 1 through 18 are realleged and incorporated herein by reference.

20. When the defendants purchased the Delhaize America, Inc. stock, they possessed material, nonpublic information about the contemplated buyout offer and they knew, or recklessly disregarded the fact that they obtained the material nonpublic information about the buyout offer in breach of fiduciary or similar duties of trust and confidence.

21. By reason of the foregoing, each defendant, directly and indirectly, violated Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78j(b)] and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5]

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Commission respectfully requests that this Court enter a judgment:

(i) permanently enjoining the defendants from violating Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. §§ 78j(b)] and Rule 10b-5 [17 C.F.R. §§ 240.10b-5];

(ii) ordering the defendants to disgorge all profits realized from the unlawful trading alleged herein, with prejudgment interest;

(iii) ordering the defendants to pay civil penalties under Section 21A of the Exchange Act [15 U.S.C. § 78u-1]; and

(iv) granting such other relief as this Court may deem just and appropriate.

Dated June 4, 2002

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 


Robert Blackburn (RB 1545)
Local Counsel for Plaintiff
Securities and Exchange Commission
Woolworth Building, 13th Floor
233 Broadway
New York, New York 10279
(646) 428-1610

___________________
Thomas C. Newkirk (TN 7271)
James T. Coffman
L. Hilton Foster
Attorneys for Plaintiff
Securities and Exchange Commission
450 5th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20549
(202) 942-4550 (Newkirk)
(202) 942-4575 (Coffman)
(202) 942-4606 (Foster)
(202) 942-9668 (faz)

 

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaints/complr17554.htm
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Modified: 06/11/2002

 

 

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