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NatWest shares slide on trading scandal

March 3, 1997

LONDON (AP) _ Shares in NatWest Group PLC fell Monday, and a trader named in its financial scandal was placed on leave with his new employer, the Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns.

Kyriacous Papious, a trader whose activities at NatWest were reported to Britain’s Securities and Futures Authority, was on leave from his job in London ``pending further information,″ Bear Stearns said. The authority regulates trading in London.

Bear Stearns spokeswoman Mary Green, speaking from New York, would not say what job Papious held or provide any other details.

NatWest came under the spotlight Friday when its investment banking subsidiary NatWest Markets announced it had discovered problems with its price records on interest rate options trades.

The company’s share price fell 3.6 percent on Monday, closing at 731.5 pence ($11.70). The shares finished above their low point of the day, 713.5 pence ($11.42), on the London Stock Exchange.

NatWest shares could suffer from an ``embarrassment factor″ in the short term, said John Leonard, who follows banking in London for the U.S. investment bank Salomon Brothers.

NatWest Markets has released few details about the trading problem, although newspaper reports suggest the troubles came about when the trader put wrong prices in bookkeeping accounts to hide losses.

NatWest Markets said the scandal was discovered by executives looking through its books, and that it will take a charge of 50 million pounds ($80 million) against its half-year results. No clients were affected, it said.

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