Ex-Citigroup bankers drawn into prison attraction over insider buying and selling

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Two former Citigroup bankers have been dragged right into a high-profile attraction introduced by a former UBS compliance officer and a day dealer who’re in search of to overturn their prison convictions.

Fabiana Abdel-Malek, who labored at UBS, and Walid Choucair, have been each convicted of insider buying and selling final 12 months at Southwark Crown Courtroom within the UK in a vibrant case that detailed confidential ideas being handed on untraceable burner telephones and conferences at unique members’ golf equipment.

The jury heard that Ms Abdel-Malek gave confidential tips about offers UBS was engaged on to Mr Choucair, who would commerce himself. 

In his defence, Mr Choucair denied he had obtained inside data from Ms Abdel-Malek and as a substitute testified that he had swapped market color and buying and selling concepts with an off-the-cuff community of merchants, together with Alshair Fiyaz, the multi-millionaire proprietor of St Tropez polo membership. 

The trial heard claims that the Monetary Conduct Authority had obtained data {that a} Citigroup worker had spoken to an middleman of Mr Fiyaz. Mr Fiyaz denies any wrongdoing and has by no means been questioned by regulators or convicted of any offence.

On Thursday Julian Christopher QC, barrister for Ms Abdel-Malek, instructed the Prison Courtroom of Enchantment that UBS was not the one financial institution concerned in 5 share transactions that have been on the coronary heart of the prosecution case. “It grew to become obvious that Citigroup was a typical denominator,” he instructed the courtroom.

He added that Ms Abdel-Malek was interesting in opposition to her conviction on grounds that the FCA’s investigation had been restricted and a few materials had not been positioned earlier than the jury, which might have reached completely different conclusions and so the convictions have been unsafe.

Richard Wormald QC, barrister for Mr Choucair, instructed the attraction that two former Citigroup bankers, David Johnson, who specialised in M&A between 2006 and 2013, and David Basra, a former head of debt financing in Europe and the Center East, had been named by the FCA because the doable middleman and supply linked to Mr Fiyaz.

Mr Johnson additionally traded in two of the shares that Mr Choucair was convicted of buying and selling in, the courtroom heard. The judges have been instructed that Mr Choucair accepted that insider data had come from unlawful sources though he didn’t realise that on the time.

Mr Wormald claimed there have been hyperlinks between the three males and Mr Johnson who lived in a “huge home” in London linked to Mr Fiyaz. He pointed to Mr Basra’s “seniority and intimate data of M&A within the Metropolis” and added that Mr Basra and Mr Johnson had gone on snowboarding holidays in Verbier collectively.

The panel of three judges listening to the case raised questions concerning the relevance of those connections to the attraction. Mr Justice Davis instructed Mr Wormald the connections have been “very dramatic prose pages however we’re within the Courtroom of Enchantment. The place’s the logical connection?” He additionally instructed Mr Wormald: “You’re in no place to say Mr Fiyaz most likely was an insider dealer.”

On Friday John McGuinness QC, performing for the FCA, argued that the duo’s convictions have been protected and that extra materials the defence legal professionals claimed ought to have been disclosed by the regulator was “peripheral”. He mentioned that throughout the trial the defence groups had added agreed details concerning the Citigroup connection however “the jury have been nonetheless positive” sufficient to convict the pair.

Citigroup mentioned in an announcement: “We’ve got co-operated with the FCA in relation to its enquiries into this matter.” 

A press release issued on behalf of Mr Johnson mentioned: “Mr Johnson has by no means been concerned in any insider buying and selling of any nature and he was not the alleged middleman. Additional, he has by no means been contacted by the FCA (in respect of any matter) and it’s affordable to imagine subsequently that had that they had any issues they might have sought to make contact with him by now.”

Mr Basra couldn’t be reached for remark.

The attraction continues.

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