BLOOMBERG faces Euro 5 million fine for reporting hoax press release.

PARIS : Bloomberg is facing the prospect of Euro 5 fine from the French regulators after reporting a fake press release in 2016.

The Autorite des Marcches Financiers yesterday accused Bloomberg News, the financial information group's media arm, of spreading false information - which the French market regulators said it should have known to be false - during a hearing.

It is the first time such a charge has been leveled against a media group in France.

The AMF is accusing Bloomberg of having prioritised speed over judgment in reporting the fake press release from French building group Vinci in November 2016, saying ''the sensational nature of this information has outweighed the need to verify the information.''

Vinci saw the shares plummet almost 19 percent after a hoax press release said it had fired its chief financial officer and was restating its its results after discovering accounting irregularities.

However 24 minutes after the release had landed, a statement from Vinci denied ''all the information contained in this fake news press release'' and the company said it would be ''investigating all legal actions.''

The AMF, said people familiar with the situation, was targeting Bloomberg in part due to its outsized influence on markets, coupled with its speed, which enabled it to publish the press release ahead of rivals.

Bloomberg said that the ''extremely sophisticated hoax in the Vinci case temporarily misled a number of journalists, including some at Bloomberg News.

Only a few minutes after the publication of the fake press release by various media outlets, Bloomberg News was the first one to publish a correction.

''We firmly believe that Bloomberg News has not breached any financial market legal provisions. Based on the facts of this case, Bloomberg News also notes that the fine proposed today by the AMF board is unprecedented and disproportionate.

The World Students Society thanks David Keohane.


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