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Heavy fines for blogging

The Polish Financial Supervision Authority is investigating a blog that has featured information about the operations of a capital group since May of this year.

The bloggers have alerted Internet users to alleged irregularities in the operations of the group, accusing the company authorities of failure to comply with reporting requirements and misleading shareholders by publishing false reports concerning projects implemented by the group. The company authorities claimed that the allegations were false and filed a notice with the Financial Supervision Authority accusing the authors of the blog of securities manipulation.
The Polish Act on Trading in Financial Instruments recognises several types of manipulation. One of them is spreading inaccurate information about securities via the media, including the Internet, that could be misleading to other market participants. A journalist who is guilty of this form of manipulation may face a fine of up to PLN 5 million and/or imprisonment of up to 5 years. Other persons may be fined up to PLN 200,000 by the Financial Supervision Authority.
In February 2007 the Financial Supervision Authority exercised for the first time its ability to punish securities manipulation under the Act on Trading in Financial Instruments when it fined an individual PLN 100,000 for posting false information on a website concerning exchange-listed shares and misleading other market participants. In a communiqué issued at that time, the regulator stated that securities manipulation is one of the most serious offences on the capital market.