Catch Calata if you can: SEC files price manipulation case
Just a few days after the Philippine Stock Exchange ordered the delisting of Calata Corp., the controversial agricultural trading firm now finds itself caught up in a price rigging case filed by the corporate watchdog.
The Securities and Exchange Commission lodged before the Justice Department Wednesday a criminal complaint against the company, its chairman and president Joseph, CFO Benison Paul De Torres, corporate secretary Jose Marie Fabella, independent directors Conrrado Zablan and Edmund Solilapsi, and directors Johnny Uy and Halmond Parker Ong.
They were charged for allegedly violating Sections 24 and 54.1 of the Securities Regulation Code.
SEC alleged that the company made materially false or misleading representations to the public with respect to a P65 billion integrated gaming resort project in Mactan, Cebu to pump up its share price.
According to the SEC, Calata deceived the public by disclosing on Aug. 23, 2016 that it was expecting to secure a gaming license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. for its proposed casino casino project by the end of the year when in fact its application had already been rejected by Pagcor as early as May 16, 2016.
“An increase in price and volume of shares are considered the usual effect of positive disclosures which affect investor’s sentiment which in turn influence their decision to buy or sell shares,” the SEC said.
This is nothing new to Calata, which was embroiled in a stock manipulation scandal in November 2012, seven months after it listed on the stock exchange.