By Dasha Afanasieva
LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Two former girlfriends of ex-Mizuho International banker Thomas Ammann who traded on his tips and shared the profits with him, were found innocent of insider dealing on Thursday.
Jessica Mang, a 30-year old chiropracter from Surrey in southern England, and 44-year old Christina Weckwerth were acquitted of one count of insider dealing each after a trial at Southwark Crown Court in London, the Financial Services Authority said in a statement on Thursday.
Mizuho International is part of the Mizuho Financial Group.
The FSA said it makes no criticism of Mizuho International plc. A Mizuho spokesperson said: “The FSA has not expressed any concern about Mizuho International or its systems and controls”.
During the month-long trial it emerged that each woman believed that the ex-banker was their boyfriend and was unaware of the other’s existence.
Ammann pleaded guilty to two counts of insider dealing and two counts of encouraging insider dealing and will be sentenced at a later date, the FSA said.
In late 2008 and 2009 Ammann was working on the team at Japanese investment bank Mizuho International, which was advising Canon in its buyout of Océ, a medium-sized Dutch company making accessories such as photocopiers and scanners.
Ammann shared price sensitive information about the deal with Weckwerth - represented by Alexander Cameron, the brother of British Prime Minister David - and Mang, encouraging them to trade in the shares of Océ before the deal was announced.
Once the transaction became public, Weckworth and Mang sold their shares making 1 million euros ($1.28 million) and 29,000 pounds ($46,000) respectively, and both of them gave half of their profits to Ammann.
During the trial the court heard an extract from Mang’s diary in which she said it was “demeaning” to pay the money to Ammann, whom she met in a London nightclub in July 2009, Complinet, a Thomson Reuters publication, had reported.
“Ammann... thought that by getting his girlfriends to trade instead they could avoid being caught,” said Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA. “He was wrong, and he now faces the consequences.”
The Ammann conviction is the 11th for insider dealing by Britain’s financial watchdog this year, compared with four convictions last year, the FSA said.