LONDON Jan 22 Julian Rifat, a former trader at
U.S. hedge fund Moore Capital, will next Wednesday appear in a
London court four years after being held for questioning in
connection with the UK's largest and most complex insider
Westminster Magistrates' Court confirmed that Rifat was
listed to appear on Jan. 29 to hear eight charges against him in
a case codenamed Operation Tabernula, which to date has seen 10
men arrested, seven charged and one jailed.
Former Exane BNP Paribas sales trading head Clive Roberts
remains under investigation in the drawn-out investigation that
began in 2007 but hit the headlines in March 2010, when police
initially arrested six men to break up what the regulator called
a sophisticated and long-running insider dealing ring.
The regulator, long criticised for being too soft on market
abuse, has pushed financial crime to the top of its agenda amid
public outrage at a string of bank scandals, ranging from
mis-selling to benchmark fixing, five years after taxpayers were
forced to bail out banks in the wake of the credit crisis.
Britain's regulator, revamped and renamed the Financial
Conduct Authority (FCA) last April in a move to draw a line
under past failings, has pushed up staffing in its enforcement
and financial crime arm by 17 percent to 480 in its first year.
Since 2009, there have been 23 convictions for insider
dealing and last year, the FCA arrested another 15. But the UK
continues to lag the United States, where the Securities and
Exchange Commission brought 44 insider trading actions last year
Britain's biggest swoop on an alleged insider dealing ring
has involved a series of arrests, including Rifat and Martyn
Dodgson, a former Deutsche Bank managing director and one of the
most senior bankers charged here with such an offence.
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, Andrew Hind,
Richard Baldwin and Benjamin Anderson.
Paul Milsom, a former equities trader at the investment arm
of Legal and General also investigated in Operation Tabernula,
was sentenced to two years in jail last March after pleading
guilty to insider dealing between Oct. 2008 and March 2010. The
judge took into consideration his guilty plea for a criminal
offence that can be punishable by up to seven years in jail.
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 at the time of the
arrests, lawyers say the FCA is under pressure to land