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DCC tycoon is cleared

Business tycoon Jim Flavin has been cleared of wrongdoing in allegations of a €100m insider trading case at investment group DCC by the Director of Corporate Enforcement.

Judge Peter Kelly at the Commercial Court ordered the publication of a report by High Court inspector Bill Shipsey into the allegations, relating to the sale of shares by DCC and its subsidiaries in fruit importing company Fyffes.

Mr Shipsey found that Mr Flavin had acted in good faith in a stock sale almost 10 years ago. The report found Mr Flavin made a costly error of judgment but that it was unintentional and "measured up to the standards required by law".

The case relates to the sale of shares in Fyffes by DCC in 2000, which earned DCC profits of around €80m. Fyffes later sued DCC, alleging insider trading, losing in the High Court.

The company won on appeal to the Supreme Court, who found that Mr Flavin, DCC and two subsidiaries engaged in insider dealing in Fyffes shares. Fyffes and DCC settled the case for a reported payment of €42m, and Mr Flavin resigned from DCC.

Supreme Court Judge Nial Fennelly described insider dealing and the five judges' decision is final. Mr Shipsey's report does not and cannot dispute. It says Flavin misjudged the information he had in his possession when he was approached by stockbrokers with a view to buying the shares and did not "deal" without considering whether he or DCC were free to sell the shares.


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