Ontario's securities regulator Friday imposed fines and penalties on two directors of Agoracom, a Toronto firm that runs a website that does investor relations for companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange.
Agoracom founder George Tsiolis and dealer Apostolis (Paul) Kondakos acknowledged they required Agoracom staff to use hundreds of fake names and to pose as investors in thousands of messages on the firm's public online forums.
Kondakos, the firm's chief officer responsible for compliance with securities regulations, also intercepted private messages between public users of the forum from July 2008 to February 2009 to gather information about companies in which he was invested.
The Ontario Securities Commission ordered Tsiolis and Kondakos to pay $125,000 to a fund administered by the commission and $25,000 toward the costs of its investigation.
It also banned them from working as investment professionals for 10 years and from trading or investing in any client of Agoracom's.
The two are also permanently prohibited from being a director or officer of any client of Agoracom or its affiliates and from being a director of any public company for five years.
Agoracom will also post a notice about the settlement on its website.