On 12 April 2022, SWI FINMA announced market manipulation by company.
- SWI FINMA concluded proceedings against Blackstone Resources AG and one of its bodies for violating market conduct rules as it engaged in market manipulation.
- SWI FINMA identified market manipulation and disclosure requirements breaches.
- As part of enforcement proceedings found Blackstone Resources, one of its executive bodies repeatedly improperly influenced company's share price in company's listing.
- During proceedings, parties refused to provide FINMA with all information requested.
- Per information available ascertained company or associated persons repeatedly made manipulative share purchases in certain trading periods and drove up the share price.
- In addition, order book entries were made with no recognizable economic background.
- Repeatedly made public statements in a way that could potentially influence stock price.
- In May 2019, Blackstone announced on its website a large off-exchange private placement in which shares traded for three times the then-current market price.
- Claimed to have achieved net proceeds from this transaction, although the transaction was demonstrably structured in such a way that company did not receive any new funds.
- Notification did not mention private investor in question was a Blackstone's director.
- Further, Blackstone published sponsored buy recommendations with price targets well above the stock market prices actually paid, based on partially inaccurate information.
- Company director only corrected notification of own holdings when pressed by FINMA .
- In addition, incorrectly calculated and reported own shares, violated disclosure duties.
- Blackstone is not institution supervised by SWI FINMA, decision part of general market supervision, possibilities for the authority to take action in such cases are limited.
- In present proceedings, SWI FINMA was in contact with Swiss Federal Audit Oversight Authority (RAB) and SIX Exchange Regulation (self-regulation of the stock exchange).
- With its communication, SWI FINMA ensures market participants are informed about manipulative activities; SWI FINMA ruling is not final and can be challenged in court.