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India regulator orders probe over Axis Bank earnings leak

The Securities and Exchange Board of India directed Axis Bank Ltd. to conduct an internal investigation over the company's leaked financial data prior to the release of its earnings results.

Figures circulated on mobile messaging service WhatsApp closely or exactly matched the bank's earnings results for the quarter ended June 30, the securities regulator said Dec. 27. The bank's results were posted on stock exchanges in the afternoon of July 25. The messages with the bank's financial data were in circulation on the messaging platform earlier that day, the regulator said, citing media reports.

The regulator ordered Axis Bank to conduct an investigation of people involved in preparing the financial results. It also directed the bank to strengthen its processes and system controls to prevent the leakage of unpublished price-sensitive information in the future.

Axis Bank executive director Rajesh Dahiya said the bank will work closely with the regulator and experts in the probe, and will take action as appropriate, according to a same-day filing with the stock exchange.