* Original fine on Hannam confirmed after court battle
* Hannam has until August 7 to pay
* Regulator urges financial professionals to heed judgment
(Adds Hannam and lawyer comment, details, background)
By Kirstin Ridley
LONDON, July 22 Britain's financial watchdog has
upheld a 450,000 pound ($768,000) fine on former JPMorgan
banker Ian Hannam - a prominent dealmaker once dubbed
the "king of mining" - for market abuse after a protracted court
In an effort to clear his name, Hannam had fought to
overturn the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) initial
findings and fine of 2012. But in May, he lost his appeal in a
landmark case that fuelled a high-level debate about how
confidential information should be treated during deals.
The former soldier, who became one of London's most
prominent investment bankers renowned for his bulging contacts
book and knack for a new idea, was awaiting news about whether
the original FCA fine would be upheld - one of the largest
levied against an individual in Britain.
Imposing the penalty, the head of the FCA's enforcement and
financial crime division Tracey McDermott urged all financial
professionals to pay close attention to a judgment that did not
question Hannam's integrity, but sought to bring clarity to the
grey area of what constitutes acceptable business conduct.
"It (the Tribunal judgment) should leave market participants
in no doubt that casual and uncontrolled distribution of inside
information is not acceptable in today's markets," she said on
Hannam, dubbed "king of mining" because of his weight in the
resources sector, said he had decided against appealing the
Tribunal decision and said he hoped his decision to challenge
the FCA findings would ensure others were now better able to
understand the scope and effect of inside information rules.
"I now wish to put this difficult period behind me and get
on with my business career," he said in a statement published on
his website, thanking JP Morgan, friends and family who stood by
him during "these difficult five years".
The case hinged on two emails Hannam sent in 2008 to Iraqi
Kurdistan's oil minister Ashti Hawrami on behalf Heritage Oil
, a client, which the regulator alleged included
potential inside information about a potential takeover and a
potential oil discovery.
No-one traded on the information in Hannam's emails and the
regulator did not remove his "fit and proper" status, required
for working in London's financial sector.
Hannam, who resigned from his job in 2012 to fight the
allegations, argued the emails were too imprecise to constitute
insider information - and might even have been inaccurate.
The case laid bare the ease with which bankers handle
potentially market-moving information. The FCA accused him of
having a "relaxed and improper" attitude and a "casual" attitude
to disclosure beyond that allowed and necessary to do his job.
But lawyers said the case was a timely reminder that the
FCA, born last year with fresh powers to enforce market conduct,
should not be overly hasty in its attempts to improve market
integrity in London.
"Ian Hannam is one of the few prominent City (of London)
figures who have challenged an FCA fine," said Simon Morris of
London law firm CMS. "While he didn't succeed others have, and
this gives the FCA the important reminder that all its decisions
must be of sufficient quality to sustain judicial scrutiny."
Hannam, who was not immediately available for comment, has
until August 7 to pay the fine in full.
($1 = 0.5859 British Pounds)
(Editing by Clare Hutchison and Mark Potter)