Deutsche Boerse chief executive steps down over LSE insider trading investigation as firm issues profit warning

Emma Haslett
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Kengeter was accused of insider trading two months before the LSE deal was announced (Source: Getty)

The boss of Deutsche Boerse has stepped down after an investigation into allegations of insider trading of shares in London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Deutsche Boerse said today Carsten Kengeter had informed its board at an extraordinary general meeting he will step down at the end of this year in order to allow the company to "focus its energy back onto clients, business and growth and to avoid further burdens caused by the ongoing investigation".

The company said its board had accepted Kengeter's request, and will announce details of his transition "in due course".

The announcement came hours before the firm issued a profit warning, saying that profit for 2017 was "very likely" to fall short of its target for an increase of 10-15 per cent. Deutsche Boerse said "prevailing negative cyclical effects" were the main reason.

It said it was on target for its 2018 and 2019 goal for annual earnings growth of 10-15 per cent though.

Kengeter has been the centre of an investigation into alleged insider trading shortly before Deutsche Boerse announced plans to merge with London Stock Exchange Group in a £21bn deal, which fell through in March this year after the European Commission blocked the deal.

Kengeter is alleged to have bought €4.5m of stock in his own company two months before the merger was announced.

The company has previously denied Kengeter at fault, telling German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle Kengeter had been asked to "act as a real entrepreneur" and buy shares, adding that the accusations are "groundless".

In September this year Deutsche Boerse agreed to pay two fines totalling €10.5m to settle the investigation, but said it was not an acceptance of fault.

"The decision to... accept the fines was made for the purpose of protecting the overriding interests of the company," it said in a statement.

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