Fairfax Financial CEO Watsa Probed for Insider Trading – Company Says

August 1, 2014

Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd said Quebec’s securities regulator was investigating the company, Chief Executive Officer Prem Watsa and President Paul Rivett for possible illegal insider trading or tipping.

Fairfax disclosed the information late on Thursday in its second-quarter financial statement.

“The investigation concerns the possibility of illegal insider trading and/or tipping (not involving any personal trading by the individuals) in connection with a Quebec transaction,” Fairfax said.

Tipping refers to the practice of passing along sensitive information that could then be used for trading.

Watsa, a well-known contrarian investor, addressed the issue on a conference call early on Friday, denying he, Rivett and the company had done anything improper.

“We are fully cooperating with the authorities and we are required strict confidentiality during the investigation,” he said. ” … I can say there is no personal trading involved and we are confident that we did nothing wrong.”

The Autorité des marchés financiers, the securities regulator for the French-speaking Canadian province, did not immediately respond to requests to confirm the investigation.

Shares of Fairfax were up 1.9 percent at C$523.06 in morning trading.

(Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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