NY attorney general James demands Kodak CEO testify on alleged insider trading

Workers at the KODAK Billboard in Times Square, March 2004.

Avalon | Hulton Archives | Getty Images

The New York attorney general on Tuesday urged a court to force Kodak’s CEO to testify publicly as part of an investigation into allegations of insider trading.

The petition filed with the New York State Supreme Court alleges that CEO Jim Continenza bought shares in his company while Kodak was in private talks with the White House about a loan of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The tentative loan, announced during the pandemic outbreak, was intended to help Kodak switch to chemical production to meet industry needs.

“With millions of New Yorkers and Americans in this country losing their jobs and waiting for unemployment checks, Kodak’s CEO used inside information to illegally trade company stocks,” Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

“We are asking the court to order Mr. Continenza to testify in court so that the facts can be exposed before the American people,” the statement said.

The attorney general is particularly focused on Continenza buying more than 46,000 Kodak shares early last summer. In July, trading in the company’s shares increased ahead of the public announcement of the loan.

Following the announcement, the stock soared, gaining more than 300% in a single session.

Kodak responded to the attorney general’s petition Tuesday, saying it had previously offered documents.

“Prior to this filing, the company made repeated offers to provide witnesses and the Attorney General repeatedly declined. It is significant that she has now made the decision to publicly apply for this order, soliciting the very same testimony that she was previously not interested in, “Kodak said in a statement.

Kodak added that the Continenza purchase came when it was not in possession of material non-public information and said the purchase was part of a pre-approved trade agreement that was in compliance with standards of compliance. The company said this information was later verified through an independent investigation.

Kodak’s stock rose nearly 5.5% on Tuesday. Over the past year, stocks are up 187%.

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