Bloomberg News fined $7.6M for publishing hoax report that sent stock prices tumbling in France

Bloomberg News fined $7.6M for publishing hoax report that sent stock prices tumbling in France
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French markets watchdog AMF fined Bloomberg News 5 million euros, about $7.6 million, for its reporting on a fake news release in 2016 that led to a plunge in stock prices in France. 

The AMF said in a statement that the news organization should have known the information was false, according to multiple outlets. 

The AMF took action against Bloomberg News last Monday over its publishing of a fake statement claiming the construction group Vinci would revise its 2015 and 2016 accounts and fire its chief financial officer without verifying the information, Reuters reports. 

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The hoax statement was almost indistinguishable from a normal press release from the company, but it was posted on a mirror site, with a different website address and wrong mobile phone number for the spokesman, the Agence France-Presse reports.

Vinci shares lost as much as 18 percent after the hoax statement; the shares ultimately recovered after the company denied the report, according to Reuters. 

A spokesperson for Bloomberg News told The Hill it intends to appeal the fine, adding that the decision "fails to recognize the vital role the press plays in a democratic society."

"Bloomberg News was one of the victims of a sophisticated hoax, like the company that was directly targeted by the fraudsters, and the many other press agencies who were all victims of the same deception," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We regret that the AMF did not find and punish the perpetrator of the hoax, and chose instead to penalize a media outlet that was doing its very best to report on what appeared to be newsworthy information. "

Updated at 10:18 a.m.