SAP executives suspected of insider trading

More than 100 people, including members of SAP AG's board of directors, relatives of SAP employees and bank personnel, are under investigation on suspicion of insider trading in one of the largest cases of this kind in Germany. The action stems from a dramatic fall in the company stock one day last October.

More than 100 people, including members of SAP AG's board of directors, are under investigation on suspicion of insider trading in one of the largest cases of this kind in Germany.

In Monday's issue of German business daily Handelsblatt, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Frankfurt confirmed that an investigation is under way. The spokesman, Job Tilmann, told the newspaper the investigation could take up to a year to complete because of its scope.

A spokesman for the Federal Office for Stock and Bond Trading, Juergen Oberfrank, said more than 100 people were under investigation. The story did not say how many were SAP employees or how many were members of the board, but it said relatives of SAP employees and bank personnel were suspected of taking part.

Oberfrank told the newspaper he did not know the amount of money involved, but he said it was one of the largest cases since insider trading became illegal in Germany in 1994.

The company is aware of the investigation and considered it to be a routine measure brought on by a dramatic fall in the company's stock on October 23, SAP spokesman Michael Pfister was quoted as saying.

On that day, the company's stock on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange fell 23% within minutes after a report that the company's results for the first three quarters of the year would be lower than expected.

SAP officials were not available for comment.

SAP, based in Walldorf, Germany, can found on the Internet at http://www.sap.ag.de/.

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