FSA Imposes Biggest Fine On Hedge Fund Manager

Aug 15 2011 | 1:51pm ET

A Dutch hedge fund manager has been handed the largest fine in U.K. Financial Services Authority history for market manipulation and misleading his investors.

The Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal has upheld the FSA's £2 million levy against Michiel Weiger Visser, it said today. The tribunal called the Mercurius Capital Management CEO's actions "worse than any other seen by this tribunal."

According to the FSA, Visser and his CFO, Oluwole Modupe Fagbulu, "showed a flagrant disregard for the interests of their investors and over a considerable period engaged in a sustained and deliberate course of deception to present a picture of the fund's performance that was entirely false." Among Visser's transgressions were engaging in market manipulation to prop up the €35 million fund's assets under management and hiding from investors that two of the hedge fund's prime brokers resigned.

Visser, who did not appear before the tribunal, is appealing the decision. In addition to the fine, the largest ever imposed on an individual by the FSA, Visser and Fagbulu have been barred from the financial services industry.

Fagbulu was also fined £350,000, which was reduced to £100,000 due to financial hardship.

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