Former cement boss fined over insider dealing

Thomas Schmidheiny paid a hefty fine for insider dealing Keystone Archive

The Swiss industrialist, Thomas Schmidheiny, has been fined SFr2.2 million (€1.5 million) by a Spanish court for insider dealing.

This content was published on February 6, 2003 - 16:21

The former chairman of the Swiss cement company, Holcim, paid the fine on Thursday.

Hours after settling the fine, Schmidheiny announced that he would not be returning as board chairman.

Schmidheiny stepped down as chairman of Holcim - the world's second largest cement group - last June, for the duration of the legal proceedings.

The Spanish court had investigated his purchase of 350,000 shares in the Spanish firm, Asturiana de Zinc SA, prior to a takeover bid by Swiss company Xstrata, where Schmidheiny was a board member.

Closed case

Schmidheiny, who remains Holcim's largest shareholder, knew of the bid but said the profit from the transaction was never realised.

Because he didn't profit from the purchase, the court reduced his fine.

"Aware of my serious mistakes, I have, together with my Spanish attorneys, fully cooperated with the Spanish authorities and accept without reservation the sanction imposed," he said in a statement.

Holcim, founded by Schmidheiny's grandfather in 1912, recorded sales of almost to SFr14 billion in 2001 and employs more than 50,000 people worldwide.

Schmidheiny, a board member of the former national airline, Swissair, is also chairman of "Stiftung Futur", a foundation which supports young Swiss entrepreneurs.

swissinfo with agencies

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