March 1, 2012 / 5:19 PM / 6 years ago

German prosecutors launch 80 raids in insider probe

MUNICH (Reuters) - Police in several European countries have raided more than 80 properties in a probe by German prosecutors into stock market manipulation, the Munich prosecutors office said Thursday.

The office’s spokesman said the raids Wednesday were into suspected cases of market manipulation, insider trading and fraud.

Fifty-three sites in Germany were searched, 29 in other European countries and four outside Europe.

He declined to identify the people or any companies under suspicion, saying only a double-digit number of people were involved.

“The investigation is at an early stage. The analysis could take a while,” the spokesman said, adding that it could take years.

He said that there were “some similarities” to four recent Munich court cases where people running stock market newsletters and tip sheets targeted at retail investors had been tried for market manipulation.

Two of the cases, which also implicated members of a shareholder rights lobby group, have ended with confessions, suspended prison sentences and fines. The remaining cases are still being tried.

Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Will Waterman

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