April 25, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter
Broker consolidator Anthony Clark International Insurance Brokers Ltd. (TSX: ACL, NASDAQ: ACKBF) has been charged with illegally inflating its share price by the Alberta Securities Commission (ASC).
The announcement comes the same day the Calgary-based brokerage announced a share buy-back approved by the Toronto Stock Exchange and one day after announcing an agreement to expand into the U.S.
“Shares of Anthony Clark International were traded in an unlawful manner by key company personnel and a brokerage firm,” alleges the ASC.
The commission is charging Anthony Clark founders John and Peter Podorieszach as well as Nino Belvedere and John Thomas, as well as Francis Roche of Roche Securities, and Edmonton-based securities brokerage.
“The ASC alleges that Belvedere, Thomas, and the Podorieszachs conducted a series of trades that effected both high and low market closings, breaching TSX rules and the Alberta Securities Act contrary to the public interest.” The ASC also alleges the Roche “touted” shares at inflated prices and restricted sales of Anthony Clark’s shares.
The allegations are made in a “Notice of Hearing”, with the hearing scheduled for May 16.
Anthony Clark issued a press release today announcing the approval to buy back up to 5% of the company’s shares, noting, “The directors of the corporation are of the view that the current market price of the common shares of the corporation does not reflect the inherent value of the corporation and a repurchase of its common shares represents an appropriate use of funds which will also improve the liquidity in the corporation’s common shares.”
On Tuesday, the company announced that it would purchase a California-based brokerage, marking its first foray into the U.S. market.