Insider Trading Indictment in AREVA-UraMin Deal: Coup de Fric atomique

Coup de Fric atomique*

Translation of "Coup de Fric atomique," Le Canard Enchaîné, 2015/10/07

On June 15, 2007, the nuclear giant AREVA, headed then by Anne Lauvergeon, announced that it was launching a take-over bid (offre public d’achat) for UraMin, a small Canadian mining company which held uranium deposits in Namibia, Central African Republic, and South Africa—deposits which were said to be enormous. AREVA spent just under 1.8 billion euros, to which another 1 billion would be invested later. But it was all for nothing. The purported marvelous uranium deposits soon vanished in the wind.

In bankruptcy now, AREVA will soon have to be saved by ratepayers. According to Agence France Press (2015/05/10), the state will have to inject 2.5 billion euros.

Now a new charming sequel has been added to the story. It was learned last week that according to Tracfin, the anti-money laundering organization, Olivier Fric, the husband of Anne Lauvergeon, had bought, through an offshore banking intermediary, 300,000 shares of UraMin on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This was just a few days before the announcement of the take-over bid. He resold them on June 20th, 2007 for a profit of 300,000 euros.

In early September a supplementary indictment for insider trading was issued to the husband of “Atomic Anne.” Tracfin noted:

One can reasonably imagine that M. Fric profited from his relationship with someone in control of a legal entity, a relationship from which he gained information that was not available to other actors in the marketplace.

Such are the dreams that ensue from sweet pillow talk of uranium.

Translation of "Coup de Fric atomique," Le Canard Enchaîné, 2015/10/07
*The title was not translated because there is no way to capture the double meaning of fric in this headline. In French fric is a slang expression for money.

From Wikipedia:

Tracfin (Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins) is a service of the French Ministry of Finance that fights money laundering. Since its foundation in 1990 its aim is to fight against illegal financial operations, money laundering and terrorism financing.

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