23 December 2008

Forged SEBI letter, novel fraud

This must set a new record for innovation in securities fraud. See the SEBI press release which is self explanatory:

"PR No.327/2008

Clarification on news reports relating to Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd.

It has been widely reported in the media that SEBI has vide order dated December 19, 2008, directed Mr. P S Saminathan, the CMD of Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd. (PSTL), to make an open offer for acquisition of shares of the Target Company (PSTL) at a price of not less than Rs. 250/-. A copy of the letter purported to have been issued by SEBI was also flashed on some TV Channels today.

It is hereby clarified that no order or letter has been issued by SEBI to Mr. P S Saminathan on 19.12.2008. It appears that the said letter is being circulated with ulterior motives.

SEBI is separately investigating into the matter including the origin of the letter. SEBI is also separately inquiring into the dealing in the scrip following the press report including alleged violation of SEBI (SAST) Regulations, 1997.


December 23, 2008"

Though I don't have an accurate set of facts, it appears the news of the letter being sent predates the actual receipt of the forged letter by the company. The company denied having received such letter, and then voila it reached their doorstep and as is required, the development was duly reported by the company to the stock exchange.

If this was merely to hurt the company, I'm not sure it caused more than a lot of nuisance for a few days at most.

If this was meant to manipulate the market to profit from it, this is not a very good idea unless the fraudster is a very very sophisticated manipulator and is able to hide his/her large order in the crowd of orders by breaking it up. The surveillance system of SEBI would pick up any substantial purchase on fall or sale on rise of the stock complete with PAN number.

More on the quality of the forgery after I get a closer look at the piece. It looked pretty authentic on TV, and it seemingly bore the file path of a letter sent by SEBI HQs to SEBI Calcutta office on the 1st November.

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