FSA probing six insider dealing cases

Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), speaks to an audience at the offices of Thomson Reuters in Canary Wharf, London March 12, 2009. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

LONDON (Reuters) - The financial regulator is investigating six separate insider dealing cases in an increased effort to crack down on market abuse, the Independent reported on Monday.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement at the Financial Services Authority, told the paper that in one of the cases the watchdog had been given the names of 2,000 people who could have been privy to confidential market information.

“I know of at least three other investigations which we are close to commencing as criminal proceedings,” she said.

“And I know of several other investigations which are being conducted on a criminal investigative basis.”

Last week the FSA arrested two people, including a senior corporate finance adviser, in connection with suspected organised insider trading.

A week earlier the watchdog won its first criminal prosecution against insider dealing, against a solicitor and his father-in-law, who were both jailed for eight months.

The regulator acquired the power to bring criminal proceedings for insider dealing in 2001, after previously defining such cases as civil offences which resulted in fines.

Last month FSA Chief Executive Hector Sants said “several more” criminal prosecutions for insider dealing were in preparation.

Reporting by Tim Castle; Editing by Kim Coghill