By Huw Jones
LONDON, July 23 (Reuters) - Six people were found guilty on Monday of running an insider dealing ring that netted over 700,000 pounds ($1.09 million) after the longest and most complex prosecution brought by Britain’s Financial Services Authority.
The six used confidential and price-sensitive information from the London printers of Swiss bank UBS and UK brokerage JPMorgan Cazenove to place spreadbets on proposed or forthcoming takeover bids involving Reuters , Vega Group, Premier Oil, Thus and Enodis, the court heard when the trial opened in March.
“The defendants were involved in a long running, sophisticated and very profitable scheme. Indeed, several of the defendants derived the majority of their income from the scheme,” FSA acting director of enforcement, Tracey McDermott, said in a statement on Monday.
“The conduct of the individuals in this case and the details of the scheme which have now been revealed are important reminders to firms of the need to protect inside information throughout its life so that it cannot be misused,” she added.
The six will be sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, concluding a four and a half month trial.
The disclosure of insider information and dealing took place between 2006 and 2008, using several accounts to place spread bets ahead of the company announcements being published to profit from anticipated share price rises once the news was released.
Ali Mustafa was convicted in respect of information obtained on Reuters and Vega.
Pardip Saini, Paresh Shah, Bijal Shah and Truptesh Patel were found guilty in respect of information on Reuters, Biffa, Premier Oil and Enodis, and Vega.
All except Truptesh Patel were found guilty in respect of Thus, while Neten Shah was found guilty in respect of Vega and Thus. Neten, Paresh and Bijal Shah are all related.
A seventh defendant, Mitesh Shah who worked at the time with Finspreads, which later became City Index, was acquitted.
Last month the FSA said a fifth of company announcements in Britain were still preceded by unexplained share price moves, seen as an indication of possible insider trading.
The latest convictions are part of the FSA’s tougher “credible deterrence” push to clean up markets by taking on much harder, more complex and costly cases than in the past.
The FSA had already secured 14 convictions for insider dealing and is prosecuting four other individuals for the same offence.
The watchdog will be scrapped next year when its enforcement powers pass to a new Financial Conduct Authority.