BUDAPEST - Billionaire investor George Soros’s Soros Fund Management was fined 489 million forint ($2.2 million) for attempting to manipulate the share price of OTP Bank, Hungary’s largest bank, the country’s financial 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.