April 26, 2018 / 1:58 PM / a year ago

Germany probes emails pushing ASMALLWORLD stock, shares plunge

The logo of Germany's Federal Financial Supervisory Authority BaFin (Bundesanstalt fuer Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht) is pictured outside the former finance ministry building in Bonn, Germany, Germany, April 5, 2016. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Files

ZURICH (Reuters) - German financial watchdog BaFin warned investors on Thursday about emails recommending the purchase of shares in Swiss social network operator ASMALLWORLD, saying they may contain misleading information or conceal conflicts of interests.

Chief Executive Jan Leuscher said his company had nothing to do with the emails in question, which it also found misleading and had tried in vain to stop.

“I would like to stress that these activities are unconnected with ASMALLWORLD. We neither ordered nor supported these buy recommendations,” he wrote in an email.

Shares in Switzerland, which made their debut in March at 12.40 Swiss francs, were last down 43.9 percent at 12.40 francs.

BaFin said it had started an investigation into suspicion of market manipulation of the shares, which are listed in Germany as well as Switzerland. “At the Frankfurt am Main trading venue (including Xetra), price determination was suspended until further notice with effect from 3 April 2018,” it said.

The Swiss company has been dubbed the “Myspace for millionaires” or “Facebook for rich kids”.

Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi

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