Banker’s Girlfriend Says She Researched Tip Before Buying Stock
Christina Weckwerth, accused of buying shares based on inside information from her banker boyfriend, said she didn’t know his work was related to the tips and she did her own analysis before deciding to buy the stock.
Weckwerth, 44, told a London court today that she bought shares of OCE NV in 2009 before it was bought by Canon Inc. (7751) only after she researched the recommendation of her boyfriend, former Mizuho banker Thomas Ammann.
Ammann repeatedly told Weckwerth OCE’s shares were “very undervalued” and that the company was rumored to be a takeover target, she said. Her own calculations showed her the shares, which were trading at about 2.50 euros in early 2009, were worth about 7 euros based on their net asset value, she said.
Weckwerth is on trial with another of Ammann’s girlfriends, Jessica Mang. The U.K. Financial Services Authority, which is prosecuting the case, said Weckwerth took in nearly 2 million pounds (($3.2 million) from her trades. Both women paid half the profits they made to Ammann, a lawyer for the FSA said earlier in the trial.
Ammann, who has pleaded guilty, had previously made investment recommendations that helped Weckwerth make 400,000 euros ($416,000) and she trusted his advice, she said today. Ammann claimed to have doubled his family’s money through his investments, and convinced Weckwerth to buy two of his apartments in 2008, saying they would be a good deal, she said.
The properties “were going to be auctioned off if he didn’t pay the mortgage,” said Weckwerth, who is originally from Cyprus and has connections to Britain and Germany. “I sold them at a profit. He turned out to be right.”
Weckwerth lawyer Alexander Cameron, the brother of Prime Minister David Cameron, showed her documents outlining her and Ammann’s history of discussing investments, arguing she didn’t know any of them were related to his work.
“I considered him a specialist and I had no problem consulting with him,” Weckwerth said after being shown e-mails between her and Ammann about investing in derivatives tied to the DAX (DAX) exchange in Germany in 2008.
Weckwerth chastised Ammann in an e-mail after he complained about her decision to sell some of her OCE shares, which she had spent hundreds of thousands of euros acquiring.
“I was telling him not to cross a line by being insistent with his suggestions,” Weckwerth said. “He would repeat this company was very worthwhile and would criticize me for being scared” and selling some OCE shares.
Ammann, who worked for the Mizuho mergers and acquisitions team that advised Canon on the OCE deal, pleaded guilty this year to insider trading and encouraging both women to commit insider trading. Canon, the Tokyo-based maker of cameras and photocopiers, agreed to buy OCE in a 730 million-euro deal in November 2009.
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