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$15bn T-Mobile takeover deal leaked accidentally on Eurostar train – report

$15bn T-Mobile takeover deal leaked accidentally on Eurostar train – report
As part of a major probe by France's stock market regulator into allegations of insider trading, details have emerged that a $15 billion takeover deal was inadvertently leaked during a train journey from London to Paris.

On, July 15, 2014, dealmaker and asset manager, Vincent Le Stradic, was going through the details of an audacious deal in the making: the attempted takeover of T-Mobile by French mobile provider Iliad, a move which would also be the French telecommunications provider’s first foray into the US market.   

Little did Le Stradic realize that he was inadvertently leaking vital information about the upcoming, but yet to be announced, $15 billion deal to his seatmate, an unassuming gentleman with days-old stubble and casual clothes named Alexandre Zaluski.

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Zaluski subsequently contacted his UBS colleague Christian Lesueur, who in turn used this information to put together a team of elite UBS bankers to pitch a financing deal to Iliad.

None of the three men made any illicit trades based on their shared knowledge, but Zaluski and Lesueur were accused of sharing insider information with their colleagues in UBS.

Lesueur argues he did what he would be expected to do given his job and the serendipitous  circumstances. “In my mind, the transaction was stillborn. There was no doubt about that,” Lesueur said. “I just did my job.” as cited by Bloomberg.

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For his part, Zaluski, who no longer works at UBS, says Le Stradic was merely blaming him for his own failure to guard company secrets. “The outcome: Le Stradic isn't facing any proceedings at the enforcement committee,” Zaluski's lawyer Pons-Henry said.

Benjamin Mauduit, a spokesperson for French stock market regulator (AMF), said investigators into the incident have recommended a €45,000 ($50,500) penalty for Zaluksi, a €400,000 ($448,000) for Lesueur and a whopping €1 million ($1.1mn) fine for UBS, though the AMF's enforcement committee has yet to issue a final ruling which is expected in coming weeks.

The bizarre revelations have emerged amid a wider probe into accusations of insider trading at Iliad by Chairman Maxime Lombardini. Mauduit also suggested a €1 million fine be issued against Lombardini.

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