The FSA has lost its first insider dealing case, as a finance director and two lawyers walked free from court today.
Former finance director of NeuTec Pharma Andrew King, and former US law firm partners Michael McFall and Andrew Rimmington, were acquitted of all charges by a jury at Southwark Crown Court.
King was accused of tipping off McFall, his friend from Fulham United Football Club, that NeuTec, then an obscure AIM-listed stock, was about to be taken over by Swiss giant Novartis.
After less than 90 minutes of deliberations, King was acquitted of one count of insider dealing, McFall five counts and Rimmington three counts in the shares of AIM-listed biotechnology company NeuTec.
It is the first time the FSA has lost an insider dealing case.
Rimmington was previously excused from the trial after his brother was killed in an attack but today Judge Peter Testar at Southwark Crown Court ordered the jury to acquit him after the FSA said it would not pursue its case against him.
Director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA Margaret Cole says:"Insider dealing cases are challenging to prove, but these were serious charges and we considered the evidence provided a proper basis to put the case before a jury for them to decide.
"Criminal prosecutions are integral to the FSA's long term strategy of delivering credible deterrence and combating insider dealing.2
She says the FSA remains "100%" committed to achieving credible deterrence.
"Bringing criminal prosecutions sends a message, loud and clear, that insider dealing is a serious crime and we are not afraid to pursue cases through the criminal courts."
The watchdog, which could still be scrapped under the new coalition Government, secured five convictions in its three previous insider dealing prosecutions and has four others pending.
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