(Adds company comment, share reaction, background)
HELSINKI May 18 Finland's financial watchdog
wants the police to investigate tyre maker Nokian Tyres
over possible misuse of insider information, the
National Bureau of Investigations said on Thursday.
The request follows the watchdog's own investigation into
the tyre maker's acknowledgement last year that it had supplied
special high-quality tyres for tests by motoring journalists,
leading to stronger test scores that helped garner good
The Financial Supervisory Authority has asked the bureau to
investigate whether Nokian misused insider information or
breached disclosure laws, Inspector Erkki Rossi told Reuters by
telephone. He said the bureau would appoint a person to decide
whether to launch the requested investigation.
Last year, shares in the tyre maker fell after the company
admitted the use of high quality tyres in tests. Daily Helsingin
Sanomat later reported that some members of the company's
management team had sold options before it went public about the
specially designed tyres.
Nokian said in a statement on Thursday that it did not wish
to make any comment at the moment.
Its shares initially fell 2 percent on news of the
watchdog's request, but were flat by 1334 GMT.
The motor industry is sensitive to accusations of test
manipulation after carmaker Volkswagen in 2015
admitted installing illegal software to conceal the true level
of emissions from some of its diesel vehicles.
Nokian Tyres has defended its practises, saying that the use
of special tyres happened in the past and tests in its main
markets have been reliable for years.
It had launched an internal investigation into the matter in
October 2015, and the reported option trades took place in
October and November 2015, before the company went public with
the past practises.
Nokian's previous CEO Ari Lehtoranta told Reuters last year
that the company saw no reason to forbid the trades because of
(Reporting by Tuomas Forsell; writing by Jussi Rosendahl;
editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton)