Are stocks, Wolff, Stroll and Aston Martin all on the up and up?

Silverstone Test, Day 1 - Steve Etherington

I was reading an article over at the Journal de Montreal which suggested that Mercedes F1 boss, Toto Wolff, may be under investigation for stock purchases he made in Aston Martin back in November 2020. The article said the reason for this review was possible suspicion of insider trading.

The article goes on to say that “the case was subsequently transferred for review to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), UK, as Aston’s shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange.”

In particular, the article says that Toto Wolff acquired stocks in April 2020 for a 0.95% stake in Aston Martin. They estimated Wolff’s share is worth around $ 36 million.

The key to the issue, as pointed out by the paper is that six months after this transaction, it was announced that Mercedes would take an additional stake of up to 20% in Aston Martin. Also, the British manufacturer announced in May 2020 the appointment as CEO of Tobias Mœrs, who was boss of the AMG subsidiary of Mercedes.

Aston Martin’s value increased with these two announcements. Between April 17, 2020 and today, Aston’s stock has climbed more than 60%.

The other element, at least implied in the article, is that Lawrence Stroll could also face some questions about his relationship with Wolff and any participation in the Wolff investment. Key here is, did Wolff know fo the move from Mercedes and appointment of Tobias?

The paper reached out to Mercedes F1 who denied any such improprieties and Aston Martin had no comment on the situation. I would assume that the purchases were all disclosed and done according to German investment regulations but there would seem to be some concern if there is an official investigation into the matter.

If everything is legit and Wolff is on the straight and narrow with this investment, then it’s a heck of a return on his investment.

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Smells like smoke, looks like smoke but, heck, there’s no fire… doesn’t mean it isn’t rapid oxidization.