Kenya's biggest-ever insider trading has caught up with its first victim; Kestrel Capital East Africa CEO, Andre DeSimone

Mr Andre DeSimone, former chief executive of stock brokerage firm Kestrel Capital.
  • On Tuesday, the board of the investment bank announced that Mr DeSimone had effectively ceased being the CEO and director of the company.
  • Mr DeSimone exits the stock brokerage firm under a cloud of uncertainty as he facing ongoing investigations by Capital Markets Authority (CMA) into suspected insider trading.
  • CMA is currently investigating what is suspected to be the country’s biggest-ever insider trading investigation involving KenolKobil oil firm’s shares.

Kestrel Capital East Africa, a stock brokerage firm, is looking for a new CEO, following the exit of their long-serving chief executive, Andre DeSimone.

On Tuesday, the board of the investment bank announced that Mr DeSimone had effectively ceased being the CEO and director of the company after tendering his resignation on Friday during a board meeting.

“The board accepted the resignation and has instructed the company to inform all appropriate authorities, including the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), of Mr DeSimone’s resignation,” said a brief statement issued by Kestrel’s board chaired by the firm’s founder, Charles Field-Marsham.

“The company has initiated a process to replace the CEO and will announce his successor at the appropriate time.”

Mr DeSimone exits the stock brokerage firm under a cloud of uncertainty as he facing ongoing investigations by Capital Markets Authority (CMA) into suspected insider trading of KenolKobil’s shares ahead of the oil firm’s buyout by French conglomerate Rubis Énergie last year.

CMA is currently investigating what is suspected to be the country’s biggest-ever insider trading investigation involving KenolKobil oil firm’s shares.

According to court papers filed by CMA, the capital markets regulator reckons that privileged trading in the oil marketer’s shares ahead of last year’s announcement of a Sh35 billion ($350 million) takeover by French company Rubis Energie stood to benefit the company CEO, Mr DeSimone, and Mr Satchu.

At the centre of the insider trading are KenolKobil CEO David Ohana, Aly-Khan Satchu, a stock market analyst and CEO of Rich Management and Mr Andre DeSimone.

Charges against KenolKobil chief executive David Ohana, were, however, dropped after investigation findings failed to “establish evidence of potential misconduct” on his part.

On March 12, CMA said it had seized Sh458 million gains that the insider trading suspects stood to earn from the KenolKobil takeover as shareholders of the oil marketing firm started receiving Sh26.35 billion buyout cash.

“The funds surrendered to date (March 12) relate to 90 per cent of the quantum of suspicious trades identified through a total of 14 accounts that were frozen in October 2018 to facilitate investigations,” the CMA said.

DeSimone’s exit appears to be fallout over insider trading investigations by the regulator, which have blighted the firm’s image in recent months.

His exit, which was immediate, brings to a close his 24-year reign at the helm of one of Kenya’s leading investment banks. He started his career at Kestrel in January 1995.

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