Former banker, girlfriend jailed for insider tradingApril 2nd, 2009 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS
Hong Kong, April 2 (DPA) A former banker and his girlfriend have become the first people in Hong Kong to be jailed for insider share trading, a media report said Thursday.
Ma Hon-yeung, a former BNP Paribas vice president, was sent to prison for 26 months and fined 230,000 Hong Kong dollars ($29,500), while his girlfriend, Ivy Lo was imprisoned for 12 months and fined 210,000 Hong Kong dollars, the South China Morning Post said.
The fines were equal to the profit they made from the illegal dealing in shares of Egana Jewellery & Pearls before it was privatised three years ago.
Judge Patrick Li said: “Insider dealing is serious dishonest conduct. To maintain our position as an international financial centre, it is important to eliminate insider dealing and to reinforce the transparency of the markets.”
Ma worked on the planned privatisation of Egana in 2006 and within days of knowing about the deal, tipped off his girlfriend and three relatives about buying shares in the company before the deal was announced, the court heard.
The three family members - brother Sammy Ma, sister-in-law Cordelia Tso and nephew Ronald Ma - were sentenced to 200 hours of community service and a combined 457,000-Hong Kong dollar fine.
Commenting on the case, Securities Futures Commission chief executive Martin Wheatley said: “The message should now be loud and clear that insider dealers will go to jail”.
Insider trading was made a criminal offence in 2003 and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a 10 million Hong Kong dollar fine.
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