AMSTERDAM — Former Philips chairman Cor Boonstra was acquitted Monday of insider trading in connection with the takeover of Endemol, the global production company based in Holland.
Judge Maarten Mastboom, head of a panel of judges hearing the case, said there was no proof that Boonstra had inside information in spring 2000 when he bought 1.1 million guilders ($460,000) in Endemol shares nine days before the announcement of its sale to Spanish media conglom Telefonica.
At that time, Boonstra was in a relationship with Dutch businesswoman Sylvia Toth who was on the Endemol supervisory board.
He made close to $250,000 when he sold the Endemol stock shortly after the takeover. Boonstra did not notify Toth or stock market watchdogs about the transactions.
Judge Mastboom made it clear that the timing of the stock transactions was “striking,” as was the fact that Boonstra handled the transactions himself through a Belgian bank and asked his banker to be “discreet.”
If convicted, Boonstra could have been jailed for two years and fined. However, he was fined $152,000 for failing to notify financial markets watchdogs of other stock transactions in connection with Dutch supermarket conglom Ahold while he was a commissioner there.
The charges against Boonstra came at the height of his career, on the day he was celebrating his retirement from Philips in a gala affair in Amsterdam in May, 2001.