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'Improper dissemination'

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An "experienced" private investor has been fined £15,000 for posting sensitive financial information on an internet bulletin board to help boost a company's share price.

David Isaacs "dishonestly obtained relevant information" about satellite navigation firm Trafficmaster while visiting a friend's house in 2003. His friend, an employee of Trafficmaster, had confidential internal company documents at home about Trafficmaster's financial performance and a number of new deals.

Isaacs memorised the information while his friend was out of the room and then posted it on a financial message board.

Hitting Isaacs with a £15,000 fine the Financial Services Authority (FSA) said it was a case of market abuse.

Acting director of enforcement at the FSA, David Mayhew, said: "Internet bulletin boards can offer a legitimate and valuable source of publicly available information to investors. But when an individual inappropriately obtains and discloses relevant company information, that is not generally available, through the internet, then this will amount to market abuse.

"The FSA considers that timely disclosure of information through authorised channels is crucial to maintaining fair and transparent markets. Improper dissemination of confidential information, by the internet or any other means, can undermine confidence in the market because it ceases to be a level playing field." ®

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