FILE PHOTO: Ola Rollen, chief executive of the Swedish engineering group Hexagon

INTERNATIONAL - Hexagon chief executive Ola Rollen did not commit insider share trading when he bought shares in Next Biometrics in 2015, the Swedish businessman’s lawyer told a Norwegian court yesterday. 

Rollen, one of Sweden’s best-known business leaders, went on trial this week in Oslo for alleged insider share trading related to a 2015 investment in Norway’s Next Biometrics. 

The transaction did not involve Hexagon itself. Rollen, who denies wrongdoing, faces up to six years in prison if found guilty. The case follows a string of scandals among leading companies in Sweden involving alleged bribery, offshore tax havens and the misuse of corporate money that have tarnished the country’s clean image. Defence lawyer Christian 

Hjort said his client did not possess privileged information about Next Biometrics at the time of the share purchase and that the transactions were motivated by his own independent analysis of the company whose products include fingerprint sensors. “His plans to buy shares in Next was not insider share trading according to the law,” Hjort told the court, in his first remarks to address the prosecution’s opening statement. 

“It's not an abuse when the investment is made according to his own plans. It's against the law when you trade in the market based on other people’s plans.”