Former Corel CEO innocent of insider charges shock

It wasn't me, it was the holding com-pan-ee...

Former Corel CEO Michael Cowpland has been vindicated in the long-running Canadian insider trading action mounted against him by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC). There is of course the small matter of the C$1 million fine, but still...

The Great Escape can be described approximately as follows, and don't blame us, we just write the stuff up. The charge that Cowpland tipped off himself or his own holding company, MCJC Holding (he and his alleged gambling debts are apparently wholly-owned subsidiaries) was dropped in December. The holding company itself has been fined, so must be deemed guilty, but the OSC has dropped charges against Cowpland that he permitted the holding company to make insider trades and that he made a false statement to the regulator.

Cowpland sold (or perhaps it wasn't him at all) 2.4 million shares in Corel in August 1997, a month before it reported a loss of $32 million in a quarter, and the stock plummeted. He would appear to have escaped a jail sentence and a fine of triple the profits on the deal, and apparently leaves the court without a stain on his character. But he'd probably better have a word with whoever's driving the holding company, seeing it nearly got him into such big trouble. ®

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