SEC Opens ABN Amro Insider Trading Probe

European banks' transactions ahead of merger under scrutiny
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2008 11:42 AM CST
A Royal Bank of Scotland logo is seen outside the company's offices in central London, in this Tuesday May 29, 2007 file photo. British bank Barclays PLC withdrew its takeover offer for ABN Amro Holding...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – 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.