Troubled Genzyme launches probe into insider trading claims

With regulators negotiating a hefty fine for the issues that have plagued its Allston Landing plant, Carl Icahn at the gates demanding a top-level overhaul and patients in an uproar over continued shortages of its key product, Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) can now add one more problem to its list: stockholder allegations that executives at the Big Biotech company engaged in insider trading.

In a filing with the SEC, Genzyme said it has named three independent directors to a special committee formed to probe accusations of insider trading outlined in nine stockholder letters received since last August. The letters demanded an investigation into claims that unnamed executives and directors used their inside information to sell shares in the company.

"Several of the letters also assert that certain of our executive officers and directors took advantage of their knowledge of material non-public information about Genzyme to illegally sell stock they personally held in Genzyme," the company said in the SEC documents.

Genzyme has also lined up independent counsel for the probe. Genzyme shares are down about 18 percent from their June high, hit just ahead of the closing of the Allston facility

- here's the story from Reuters