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FSA Arrests Three in London Insider-Trading Investigation

Hedge Fund Employees Arrested in U.K. Inside-Trading Probe
The Financial Services Authority has sought to limit insider trading in the U.K.’s financial hub after previously targeting lower-profile individuals. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Three finance workers, including one at Man Group Plc’s GLG Partners hedge-fund division, were arrested in London on suspicion of insider trading by the U.K. finance regulator and police.

The men, 33, 37 and 39 years old, are in custody for questioning, the U.K. Financial Services Authority said in an e-mailed statement, without identifying them. The arrests aren’t tied to other insider-trading probes previously announced by the agency.

The FSA told Man Group the investigation relates to the employee’s actions “as a private individual and not as an employee of Man or GLG,” the company said in an e-mailed statement today. The employee was suspended, Man Group said, without identifying the person.

The FSA and London’s Metropolitan Police also executed six search warrants on homes and offices in the British capital and the surrounding areas, according to the statement. All those arrested hold positions that required FSA approval.

The regulator has sought to limit insider trading in the U.K.’s financial hub after previously targeting lower-profile individuals. The FSA arrested five people including a Schroders Plc equity trader in another insider-trading investigation last month, making today’s arrests the agency’s second new case this year.

None of three men arrested today were charged and the FSA declined to provide further details.

Block Trades

The FSA charged seven other individuals over the past year as part of an investigation into the front-running of block trades, known as Operation Tabernula, the regulator’s highest-profile case to date. One of the suspects, former Legal & General equities trader Paul Milsom, pleaded guilty last month to passing inside information to Graeme Shelley, an independent stockbroker.

Shelley, who appeared at a London magistrates court today, had his case transferred to a higher criminal court for another hearing on April 9.

The FSA is currently prosecuting another insider-trading case against a former self-employed London trader. Richard Joseph made 692,644 pounds ($1 million) spread-betting using inside tips he received about upcoming mergers, the regulator said at the trial, which began last month.

The agency last year failed to convict Jessica Mang and Christina Weckwerth, two girlfriends of former Mizuho International Plc investment banker Thomas Ammann, for insider trading on tips from him.

Ammann, a German national who worked on the Mizuho mergers and acquisitions team, had pleaded guilty to insider trading and encouraging the women to commit the crime. He was sentenced to 32 months in prison in December.

In Britain, insider trading is punishable by as many as seven years in prison.

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