FSA hands out record fine to oil firm chief

THREE Turkish oil executives have been slapped with a £1.16m fine by the FSA for insider trading in the shares of FTSE 250-listed Heritage Oil.

The chief executive, chief commercial officer and exploration manager of Genel Enerji bought Heritage shares after receiving confidential information relating to their joint venture for the exploration of the Miran oil field in Kurdistan.

Mehmet Sepil, the chief executive of the Turkish oil explorer, was fined £967,005 – the largest amount imposed by the City watchdog against an individual for market abuse.

He made profits of £267,005 after snapping up Heritage shares in May last year.

The group’s chief commercial officer Murat Ozgul was fined £105,240 after booking profits of £35,240 while exploration manager Levent Akca will stump up £94,062 after making gains of £10,062.

All three were actively involved in the joint venture project with Heritage since its launch on 31 March. They received detailed daily reports of the drilling tests at Miran from 17 April 2009 until 3 May when the testing was finished.

Although it was publicly known that Heritage was testing at Miran, the progress and results of the tests were confidential and highly sensitive. The trio then flew to London for meetings and discussed the positive test results before buying shares in Heritage on 6 May.