ASC finds Coastal Pacific Mining breached securities laws by engaging in market manipulation
CALGARY – The Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) has found that Coastal Pacific Mining Corp. illegally manipulated the market for its securities and engaged in conduct contrary to the public interest.
In 2010, while Coastal shares traded on the U.S. over-the-counter market, Coastal initiated a campaign (comprised of near-daily news releases in conjunction with a concurrent promotional email campaign) that artificially stimulated investor interest in, and demand for, Coastal shares. An ASC panel noted in its decision that the previously modest level of trading activity for Coastal shares “reached remarkable levels” during the promotional campaign, with trading volumes and prices crashing “to almost nothing” after the campaign.
The panel found that the capital market, including more than 12,000 unsuspecting investors who bought Coastal shares during the campaign, were misinformed and misled as to the merits of Coastal as a business enterprise. In its decision, the panel stated: “This was a blatant market manipulation… it was obviously incompatible with a fair and efficient capital market, and dangerous for investors.”
An in-person hearing will be convened in January 2017 to determine what, if any, orders ought to be made as a result of Coastal’s misconduct.
In May 2011, the ASC issued orders freezing certain assets, some of which were related to Coastal’s activities. In August 2013, the ASC also issued a Cease Trade Order against Coastal. These orders remain in effect.
The ASC is the regulatory agency responsible for administering the province’s securities laws. It is entrusted with fostering a fair and efficient capital market in Alberta and with protecting investors. As a member of the Canadian Securities Administrators, the ASC works to improve, coordinate and harmonize the regulation of Canada’s capital markets.