Stock speculators behind pharmaceutical firm blasts, police say Copyright 1998 Nando.net Copyright 1998 Agence France-Presse MONTREAL (April 9, 1998 2:25 p.m. EDT http://www.nando.net) - Small bombs that exploded at Biochem-Pharma buildings in November were placed by stock market speculators who hoped to push down the price of shares they had committed to buy, police said Thursday. Investigators said the perpetrators committed tens of thousands of dollars to Biochem-Pharma shares in a "put-option" strategy several days before the bombs went off. The investors planned to exercise their options to buy after the blasts and then sell when the share price recovered. But the plan hit a snag when the Montreal Stock Exchange suspended trading in Biochem-Pharma shares for several hours after the Nov. 25 blasts, and Biochem-Pharma shares closed only slightly lower at the end of the session. "We have the players, what we lack is the person who backed them financially," said Detective Michel Bonneville of the Montreal police force. Bonneville said police anticipated making arrests in the case in a week to seven days. On Nov. 25, bombs exploded at a Biochem-Pharma office in downtown Montreal and at another in the suburb where the company's headquarters are located. There were no injuries and only minor damage to the buildings. At the time, it was thought the explosions may have been the work of an international rival or an animal rights group protesting the use of laboratory testing animals. Last month, a parcel bomb was found outside the headquarters, forcing police to evacuate the building housing Biochem-Pharma's administrative offices and research laboratories. Trading in Biochem-Pharma shares was suspended again after the news, Biochem-Pharma developed 3TC, one of the earlier anti-AIDS drug 3TC, sold distribution rights to British pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Wellcome. The deal gave Biochem-Pharma net profits for the first time since the company was created in the early 1980s.
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