KRG Denies Wrongdoing in UK Market Abuse Probe

Last week we reported that Ian Hannam, a top advisor at JPMorgan Chase, has stepped down to appeal a £450,000 ($720,000) fine from the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) for disclosing inside information about a potential offer for Heritage Oil, as well as news of an oil find.

Reuters’ sources  claim that the email recipient refered to in the case as “Mr A” was in fact Kurdistan’s Minister for Natural Resources, Ashti Hawrami (pictured).

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has issued a statement confirming contact between Mr Hannam and the KRG at various levels, and denying that any inappropriate action was taken on the basis of information received:

There have been media reports regarding a decision by the UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA) against Mr Ian Hannam, a senior banker at JP Morgan. The FSA Decision Notice refers to two emails sent by Mr Hannam.

The Decision Notice does not identify the Kurdistan Regional Government as the recipient of the emails, referring instead to ‘Organisation C’ and a ‘Mr A’. However, some media reports have revealed these to be, respectively, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and KRG Minister of Natural Resources Dr Hawrami.

In these circumstances the KRG would like to clarify the following:

Mr Hannam had contact with the KRG at various levels in 2008. One of Mr Hannam’s clients was Heritage, an oil company with a production sharing contract in the Kurdistan Region.

The FSA decision refers to two emails that were sent by Mr Hannam to ‘Mr A’. The FSA notes that no action was taken by any party based on those emails.

The KRG confirms that the information identified by the FSA contained in the two emails was unsolicited, and further confirms that neither the KRG, nor any representative of the KRG, responded to that information or took any action as a result of that information.

The KRG considers this to be a UK regulatory matter between the FSA and Mr Hannam, and has nothing further to add.

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