Polish foreign minister accused of insider trading via Twitter

By bne IntelliNews November 8, 2012

bne -

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has joined the ranks of those dropping themselves in hot water by clicking without thinking on social media, with the opposition accusing him of insider trading via Twitter.

The afternoon ahead of the November 6 announcement that Polish state-controlled PGNiG has secured a gas price discount from Russia's Gazprom, Sikorski wrote on his Twitter account: "intuition tells me that the treasury ministry will have important information re the price of gas in Poland."

As it made the announcement on the long-awaited deal, PGNiG was quick to point out that the agreement would see it reverse its performance to return to profit. That saw the company's shares gain as much as 15% in trading on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, according to the Financial Times, and the stock finished the day 9.6% higher.

Although the minister claims that his message did not affect PGNiG's trading price on November 5, Sikorski's message looks unwise, if not downright leading, and the opposition wasn't going to pass up such an opportunity. "If it turned out that Minister Sikorski knew about this [the deal], you have to ask who gave him the information, why he leaked it and whether it's in his remit as foreign minister to talk about these matters," said Dawid Jackiewicz, an MP from the main opposition party Law and Justice, reports The Daily Telegraph. "If someone had advance knowledge of that deal, they would have bought shares, and then sold later for a far higher price."

Jackiewicz says he has asked Poland's Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) to investigate. Sikorski, meanwhile, returned to Twitter to claim he has nothing to answer for. "According to the president of the KNF, my entry contained no confidential information," Sikorski tweeted. "Let us rejoice over the successful negotiations and the prospect of cheaper gas." PGNiG also offered support, insisting the foreign minister was not given any confidential information during negotiations with the Russians.

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