What if You Were Getting Scoops from Tomorrow’s Newspaper Today?

‘Mad Punter’ insider trader says he was gathering prospective scoops from his conversations with journalists

In what is the biggest insider trading case in the UK, Iraj Parvizi is alleged to have spoken to journalists at Britain’s Financial Times and Daily Mail newspapers to get clues on what they would be publishing on the following day, Bloomberg reports.

Apparently, his most successful strategy involved calling his sources at some British papers including the Financial Times and the Daily Mail and trying to figure out what they were working on. He said that he could tell from the discussions they held and what they were asking, what they were likely to print.

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Parvizi explained his strategy as a kind of a mutual deal. “The way it works is, I need information, they need information. If I bought today and the Mail writes something tomorrow, the share price goes up 2 percent to 5 percent,” explaining how he read into journalists’ conversations to understand which stories were likely to make the news.

In his own words, Parvizi  added: “Whichever journalist you’re talking to, you get a feel. If the reporter says there’s a suggestion that a private equity company is sniffing around a certain company, you know there’s a story coming out tomorrow.”

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The Financial Times said in a statement that its journalists don’t provide non-public information to market participants. Daily Mail spokesman Oliver Lloyd said it would be inappropriate for the newspaper to comment during the trial.

Parviz’s prosecution by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) along with former Deutsche Bank AG managing director Martyn Dodgson, is the largest and most complicated insider-trading trial ever held in the U.K. The FCA alleges that Dodgson and Andrew “Grant” Harrison, an ex-stockbroker at Panmure Gordon & Co., passed price sensitive information to accountant Andrew Hind, who gave it to Parvizi and day trader Benjamin Anderson.

Paul Murphy and Neil Hume, who worked on the FT’s Alphaville service and the Daily Mail’s markets reporter Geoff Foster were named by Parvizi as his closest contacts. When asked whether he deliberately spread misleading rumours, Parvizi replied, “definitely, yes,” adding “I was there to help myself.”

Parvizi now faces a maximum penalty for insider trading which in the U.K. is seven years.

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