Following the disclosure of the leaked European Commission documents concerning the inquiry into whether British Energy (BE) received unlawful state aid (see NEI August 2003, p12), Friends of the Earth (FoE) said they have been warned by BE’s lawyers that it risks prosecution under insider dealing laws.

BE’s lawyers said the documents contain “unpublished price sensitive information” that “could create what is loosely known as a false market in the company’s securities.” FoE executive director Tony Juniper responded: “People have a right to know how much public money is being wasted propping up the ailing nuclear industry ­ especially as the state aid appears to be unlawful under European law. Far from creating a false market in BE stocks, full disclosure of this type of information is surely the best way to ensure a ‘true market’.”