`Mad Punter' Lawyer Asks Jury to Abandon Envy of Trader's Wealth

  • There is nothing wrong with making money, Parvizi lawyer says
  • Parvizi one of five men on trial for insider trading in London

The lawyer for a "larger than life" day trader caught-up in the U.K.’s biggest insider-dealing case told a London jury they must set aside any envy they feel about his wealth and avoid treating the trial like a popularity contest.

Iraj Parvizi, dubbed the "Mad Punter" by other traders for his willingness to wager on anything, went from working in a kebab shop in his early 20s to a net worth of $100 million. A self-confessed gambler, Parvizi regaled the jury with tales of his successes and losses over the years and a lifestyle that included racehorses and high-stakes poker.

Prosecutors say Parvizi was part of a complex conspiracy with four other men to pass secrets obtained by corporate brokers through an accountant to him and another trader over a four-year period ending in 2010. The Financial Conduct Authority claims the group made 7.4 million pounds ($10.6 million) from six stocks, including Sky Plc and Legal & General Group Plc.

"There’s nothing wrong with making money," Orlando Pownall, a lawyer for Parvizi, said in closing arguments Tuesday. "You may have little sympathy for him," but that shouldn’t be a factor in the verdict.

The 50-year-old Parvizi told the jury during his testimony how traders embellish and exaggerate rumors they’d heard because they were there to help themselves.

"Over the last 12 weeks or more most if not all of us have learnt about aspects of life that may at the outset have been quite bewildering," Pownall said. "In this ruthless environment etiquette very often goes by the board."

Parvizi’s is the last speech from the defense in the trial. The judge is scheduled to start summing up the case for the jury on Wednesday before they are sent out for deliberations.

The other defendants are Deutsche Bank AG managing director Martyn Dodgson, Andrew "Grant" Harrison, an ex-stockbroker at Panmure Gordon & Co., accountant Andrew Hind, and day trader Benjamin Anderson. The FCA claims Dodgson and Harrison passed price-sensitive information from their jobs in corporate broking to Hind, who then passed it to Anderson and Parvizi.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.