The US Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an inquiry into possible insider trading surrounding last year's takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro. Holland's Financieele Dagblad reports that Fortis, Barclays, Santander, and Royal Bank of Scotland—which eventually won the bidding—have been asked for information about trading in ABN stock before and during the takeover battle.
The Dutch giant was in merger talks with Barclays when a three-bank consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland proposed a rival bid. After a bitter fight, the resulting $98 billion purchase by the RBS-led group was the largest such takeover ever. Spokesmen for ABN Amro and RBS said they were cooperating with the SEC; Barclays declined comment.