By Tom Winnifrith, The Sheriff of AIM | Friday 6 October 2017
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
The Central Bank of Ireland handles the sort of regulatory functions that in the UK the FCA makes such a bollocks of undertaking. A source very close to the situation has revealed that Professor Richard Conroy and Conroy Gold & Natural Resources (CGNR) are now under a preliminary investigation after the events of the past week.
The first question is one of insider dealing. Conroy's hapless Nomad has now insisted that in order for the shares issued conditionally on Wednesday to be admitted in time for them to vote at today's GM, Conroy told the LSE about the issue last Sunday night. Why did it not announce it until Wednesday then? That is clearly a breach of AIM Rules. But the insider dealing question relates to market purchases by Prof Conroy on 29 September and warrant exercises by the Prof & his sidekick Maureen Jones on October 4.
Professor Conroy and Ms Jones would have been in dialogue on a daily basis with Capita about the lodging of proxy votes for Friday's GM. They will have thus had a very good idea how many votes were needed to ensure that they won. When the result comes out later today what are the odds that PC has won by less - but not a lot less - than the number of warrants he & Jones exercised? The question that the Central Bank is now investigating is thus whether Conroy & Jones engaged in insider dealing.
There is more. Regulation 7 of the European Union Market Abuse Regulations covers market manipulation. That means "entering into a transaction which gives false or misleading signals as to the supply of or demand for, or price of a financial instrument." The Professor or Jones could have bought Conroy shares at 26p on the market or at 27p in the recent placings but instead exercised warrants at 37p. Why? That is bonkers! The Central Bank is now investigating if it is market manipulation.
What should be obvious is that Professor Conroy and Maureen Jones have presided over a board that has cost shareholders c£3.5 million since 2010. To put that in context the market cap is now c£4 million. Should the lifestyle duo retain control it will not be for long.
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