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Nov 11, 2010

OSC meets to consider settlement with Agoracom

IR firm is accused of boosting interest in its clients by posting messages under aliases to its own discussion forums

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is meeting today to consider a settlement with Agoracom, the online shareholder forum accused of posting messages under aliases to its own forums and intercepting private messages sent between users.

The commission will decide whether it is in the public interest to approve a settlement reached between commission staff and Agoracom

The company provides services to small and micro-cap companies, including creating online hubs that provide discussion forums.

The OSC alleges that Agoracom required its employees to pose as investors in the forums and leave posts on a daily basis, with the aim of creating a misleading level of interest in its clients.

The posts were also ‘occasionally promotional and promoted purchasing and/or holding stock,’ writes the OSC in its statement of allegations.

Agoracom employees posted more than 24,000 messages under aliases and created more than 670 fake accounts between 2006 and 2009, the commission says. The company has previously denied the allegations.

In the OSC statement, Apostolis Kondakos, Agoracom’s co-founder and vice president of operations, is also accused of intercepting private messages between users of the site and forwarding them on to a friend.