WhatsApp Earnings Leak: SEBI Seeks Details From Companies

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India’s capital markets regulator sought details from about seven companies during its probe into earnings leaked via WhatsApp ahead of quarterly reporting.

The regulator may decide the matter ahead of its board meeting, Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman Ajay Tyagi said during the NSE-NYU conference in Mumbai yesterday. “(Earnings leaks of) six or seven companies appear to be closer to the actual result. These are blue-chip companies.”

SEBI demanded information from their compliance officers. “We are working on the matter, (and) need not wait for the board meeting.”

A Reuters investigation had uncovered the earnings leaked ahead of financial results on the instant messaging app and had identified at least 12 cases. SEBI rules bar any insider with “unpublished price-sensitive” information of a company or listed securities to neither communicate nor provide access to it to any other person, including other insiders. Such information, according to the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015, cannot be shared unless there is a legal obligation or it is used to perform duties.

Tyagi had said on Dec. that SEBI was serious about the matter. “We cannot really sit quietly on that.”

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