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Mirror editor in Viglen share-deal row

Paper's 'exclusive' scooped by The Register months ago

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Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan is being investigated by the Stock Exchange after it emerged he bought shares in Viglen Technology the day before they were tipped by his paper. The share-dealing row, which has even embroiled The Register, goes back to 17 January when the tabloid editor paid £20,000 for shares in the London PC assembler. The next day the Mirror's financial page, City Slickers, ran an "exclusive" story headlined: "Sugar to join Net goldrush. Viglen Web spin-off will send shares soaring." And it did. The shares that Morgan snapped up for around £1.50 each doubled in value overnight -– at one point peaking at £4.05 and giving him a £34,000 paper profit. However, it has emerged that the crux of the allegations -- that the Mirror had a scoop story that led Morgan to buy the shares -- was not quite so exclusive after all. Back in December, Viglen chairman Sir Alan Sugar was advertising in the Sunday papers for 'unrewarded Internet entrepreneurs' to head up a then unannounced Internet division. As today's Daily Telegraph points out: "Among financial journalists, only Drew Cullen picked up on the story, including a speculative item on his Internet site Cash Register on December 14." Yesterday, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) confirmed it had launched an inquiry into Morgan's share dealings. The topic also came up in the House of Commons, with Prime Minister Tony Blair quizzed by Tory MP Sir David Madel on the incident. Morgan denies buying the shares with prior knowledge of the City Slickers article. Viglen, whose chairman Sir Alan Sugar is a regular columnist for the Mirror, was unfazed by the allegations. One representative commented: "The story the Mirror wrote in January was in the public domain back in December - it is remarkable that there is such a hue and cry". This morning Viglen's shares were up 13 pence to £2.51. ® Related stories Viglen unveils e-business division School's out of Viglen as results show healthy growth

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