ASIC Charges Two Traders for Insider Trading

In separate cases, two Australian traders have been found guilty of insider trading conspiracies.

Two Sydney-based traders have appeared in court charged with insider trading in two separate cases brought by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Prison Sentence

The first case involves Michael Hull, a Sydney-based trader, who was sentenced to 17 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charge.

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Hull had previously pleaded guilty to trading in the shares of Mac Services Ltd, Giralia Resources NL and Jabiru Metals Ltd while in possession of inside information between 8 September 2010 and 9 February 2011.

ASIC began an investigation into Hull’s share trading in 2011, following a referral from ASIC’s market surveillance team, and charged him with insider trading in 2014.

It was alleged that the inside information was conveyed to Hull by a friend who was employed in the investment banking department of a global financial services company which worked on major corporate transactions involving the companies.

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ASIC Commission Cathie Armour commented: “Insider trading is a very serious crime and the penalties involved for those who may be tempted to take the risk are significant, through loss of reputation, employment opportunity and as this case demonstrates, imprisonment. ASIC is focused on deterring this conduct to provide confidence in the integrity of our financial markets, which is critical to the prosperity of almost all Australians.”

Profits of More Than $1 Million

In the second case, Oliver Curtis, another Sydney-based trader, was found guilty after a three week trial of conspiring to commit an insider trading offence.

The offence related to an alleged agreement between Curtis and convicted insider trader and tipper Mr John Hartman. It was alleged that as part of this agreement, Curtis traded on 45 separate occasions between 1 May 2007 and 30 June 2008 using a company he controlled and made a total profit of over $1 million.

Hartman was at the time employed as an equities dealer at Orion Asset Management Ltd. It was alleged that both men agreed that Hartman would procure Curtis to trade in contracts for difference (CFDs) on the basis of inside information that Hartman possessed about Orion’s trading intentions.

The pair allegedly sought to take advantage of expected movements in the share price caused by Orion’s trading and share the profits. In return for providing trading instructions, Curtis was said to have provided Hartman with a share of the profits in the form of cash and by using the funds to purchase items for Hartman.

Curtis faces a maximum of five years imprisonment and/or a fine of $220,000. Hartman pleaded guilty to insider trading offences on 6 April 2010 and was sentenced to three years imprisonment.

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