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UPDATE 1-Hexagon CEO charged with insider trading in Norway
March 15, 2017 / 9:28 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Hexagon CEO charged with insider trading in Norway

* Norway police charge Hexagon CEO Rollen with insider trading

* Hexagon board affirms full support for Rollen

* Rollen to address case in conference call on Thursday 0900 GMT (Adds comments from prosecutor, Hexagon chairman and Ola Rollen, adds background, details)

OSLO/STOCKHOLM, March 15 (Reuters) - Norwegian police have charged Ola Rollen, the chief executive of Swedish measurement technology and software firm Hexagon AB, with insider trading, the country’s white-collar crimes unit said on Wednesday.

Rollen, one of Sweden’s most successful chief executives, is accused of insider trading in connection with an investment in Norwegian company Next Biometrics ASA in October 2015, a transaction that did not involve Hexagon.

“We are convinced that Ola Rollen has done the things he’s now charged with, and that we can prove it in court,” Senior Public Prosecutor Marianne Bender told Reuters.

If found guilty, Rollen could face up to six years in prison, according to the police, although the length of any sentence will be decided by the courts, Bender added.

Hexagon’s board said in a statement on Wednesday it continued to fully support Rollen, who denies any wrongdoing, adding he would continue as CEO.

“I’m confident that the charges brought against Ola will be righted in the courts,” Hexagon board chairman and top owner Melker Schorling said.

Hexagon has been transformed into one of Sweden’s biggest companies under Rollen who has been at the helm since 2000 and led the move from a disparate conglomerate with a market value of just a few billion crowns.

When the company announced that Rollen had been detained on insider trading suspicion in late October, Hexagon shares fell 10 percent on the day. They have since recovered sharply.

“I will continue to lead Hexagon with full force for as long as the Board and our shareholders want me to,” Rollen said in the statement. He declined to give further comments on Wednesday when contacted by Reuters.

Hexagon will hold a conference call on Thursday at 0900 GMT, where Rollen will address the case.

His lawyers said they remained convinced that the court would conclude that the case lacked merit.

“We believe that the case against Ola Rollén is based on a misconception of the rules that apply,” Christian B. Hjort and Erik Keiserud said in a statement.

The trial will take place at the Oslo District Court, which has yet to set a date for the proceedings. (Reporting by Terje Solsvik and Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Mark Potter)

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