“Against the background of what the accused and the witnesses have said, the prosecutor has failed to demonstrade that the orders placed by [the traders] were not justified by the reasons they provided. The trading should therefore be seen as legitimate,” the court wrote in its judgment.
“Nor can it be viewed as proven, given what the witnesses have testified to or otherwise, that the trades were incompatible with accepted market practice,” the judgment concluded.
The investigation into the men, who are all aged about 35, attracted huge media attention. The probe was one of the largest ever undertaken in Sweden into price fixing. Thousands of trades have been investigated by the Swedish Economic Crimes Unit (Ekobrottsmyndigheten) and independent financial experts.
The crime of aggravated illegal market manipulation has a maximum sentence of four years, but prosecutor Yngve Rydberg had called for the men to be given a suspended sentence and a “severe fine.”
Carnegie has claimed the the men’s alleged price manipulation inflated their trading profits by 630 million kronor, but these calculations were questioned by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen – FI). All three men denied any wrongdoing.
“All I can say is that I don’t share the District Court’s view, but I have not read the verdict yet,” said Rydberg.
Rydberg added that it was “not impossible” that he would appeal the verdict, but said he would read the judgment before making a decision.