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FMA found nothing untoward in SkyCity share trading before casino statement

The Financial Markets Authority says it found nothing of concern in trading of SkyCity Entertainment Group shares ahead of a government announcement that it wouldn't help fund Auckland's convention centre.

The regulator worked with the NZX to look into share trading in the week of Feb. 9-13 after receiving two complaints, including one from Winston Peters. The NZ First leader said there was a suspicious spike in the volume of SkyCity shares on Friday, Feb. 13, with 3.4 million traded. The government and SkyCity announced on the following Sunday that no more taxpayer money would be put into the convention centre project which has now gone back to the drawing board.

"All trading in SKC shares in the period in question was analysed in detail, and considered in the context of information that was in the public domain during the week in question and in the days following," the FMA said today in a statement. "Based on these inquiries by NZX and the FMA, the FMA has found no evidence to prompt an investigation into any potential breaches of securities legislation."

The regulator said SkyCity had also posted its first-half results that week and there had been similar increases in share trading around previous such releases.

SkyCity shares closed at $3.89 on Monday Feb. 16,representing a drop of just 0.5 percent from their closing price the previous Friday. The shares fell 0.7 percent to $4.11 on the NZX today.