Elop owns shares in Microsoft, but not in Nokia

Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop has been accused of a conflict of interest, with critics noting that he is the eighth largest individual shareholder in software giant Microsoft - but doesn't own a single share in the Finnish mobile giant.

When Elop joined Nokia last September, he took 200,000 shares from his former employer with him - the vast majority of which he still owns.

Nokia claims that insider trading rules have prevented Elop from disposing of the bulk of his Microsoft holding, because both companies were actively involved in negotiations over the recently announced deal to develop Windows Phone 7 devices.

As a result, Elop still owns more than 130,000 Microsoft shares. Under the terms of his contract, he has the option to acquire up to 500,000 shares in Nokia - though there's no word as yet on when - or, indeed, if - he plans to do so.

Taking a leading stake in the company would certainly help Elop fend off an attempted boardroom takeover by a group of disgruntled former Nokia employees calling themselves 'Nokia Plan B', who yesterday launched a manifesto aimed at toppling the new CEO.

And with Nokia shares having dived up to 20 per cent on the Helsinki Stock Exchange since news of the Microsoft deal broke last Friday, now might be a good time to invest.