LONDON Jan 29 Julian Rifat, a former equity
trader at U.S. hedge fund Moore Capital, was charged on
Wednesday in connection with Operation Tabernula, Britain's
largest insider dealing investigation, becoming the ninth man
charged in connection with the inquiry.
Almost four years after his arrest, 44-year-old Rifat sat in
the dock in a London magistrates' court on Wednesday accused of
eight counts of passing confidential, price-sensitive
information to an accomplice to his "significant advantage".
Britain's financial regulator started investigating what it
has called a sophisticated insider dealing ring in 2007, but it
hit the headlines in March 2010 after dawn raids on 16 addresses
across southern England, which led to the first arrests.
Rifat, who remains on unconditional bail, did not indicate a
plea in the brief hearing and was ordered to appear before the
higher Southwark Crown Court on Feb. 12.
Paul Milsom, a former senior equities trader at the
investment arm of Legal & General, last year became the
first man to be jailed after pleading guilty in the case that
has so far led to 10 arrests.
Former Exane BNP Paribas sales trading head Clive
Roberts remains under investigation.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) alleges Rifat passed
on inside information about eight companies in 2009, including
UK banking group Barclays, German carmaker Volkswagen
, Spanish power group Iberdrola and German
His co-accused was named as Graeme Shelley, a former broker
at Novum Securities, who has already been charged as part of
Britain's financial regulators have long been criticised for
being too soft on market abuse and the FCA has pushed financial
crime to the top of its agenda, as the public rages at an
industry beset by scandals ranging from mis-selling to benchmark
Since 2009 there have been 23 convictions for insider
dealing and last year the FCA arrested another 15 suspects.
One of the most high-profile men to be charged in Britain
with insider dealing offences to date is Martyn Dodgson, a
former Deutsche Bank managing director arrested
alongside Rifat in 2010 as part of Operation Tabernula.
The others charged are Dubai-based Iraj Parvizi, a former
director at fund Aria Capital; Grant Harrison, a former managing
director at private investment bank Altium Capital; and three
others: Andrew Hind, Richard Baldwin and Benjamin Anderson.
Parvizi has pleaded not guilty and the others have yet to
enter a plea. A trial is expected this September.
Given the length of the investigation, the seniority of some
defendants and the publicity generated by the arrests, lawyers
say the FCA is under pressure to land more convictions.
Insider dealing is a criminal offence in Britain, punishable
by a fine or up to seven years in jail.