The Soros fund attempted on Oct. 9 to "send out false or misleading signals about a security’s supply and demand or its share price" and short sold OTP shares, the regulator, known as PSZAF, said in a statement late Thursday. The short selling caused the shares to drop 14 percent in the final 30 minutes of trade, the regulator said.
Short-sellers sell borrowed securities, hoping to profit by repurchasing them later at a lower price and then returning them to the owner. Budapest-based OTP is Hungary’s largest lender.
The plunge in OTP shares was part of a "significant and strong attack" against Hungarian money and capital markets, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany said on Oct. 10. The same month, the central bank raised the benchmark interest rate to the European Union’s highest to defend the forint and the country secured an International Monetary Fund-led loan to avert a default as investors sold local assets during the credit crunch.
Soros, chairman and founder of Soros Fund Management, said in a statement he was "sincerely sorry" his company made the trade. The Soros fund has launched an internal investigation, he added.