Convicted London Trader Forfeits $5.4 Million in Profits

A day trader who was convicted of insider trading along with a UBS Group AG compliance official agreed to forfeit 3.9 million pounds ($5.4 million), U.K. prosecutors said.

Walid Choucair, who is currently serving part of a three-year prison sentence, will give up the profits that the Financial Conduct Authority says he made from trading ahead of merger announcements. John McGuinness, a lawyer for the FCA, told a judge Thursday that the sum also included the money Choucair had made in 15 other trades.

Choucair, and his friend Fabiana Abdel-Malek, were convicted of a conspiracy to use inside information on five mergers. Abdel-Malek, who was working at UBS, used a burner phone to leak data from a confidential bank database to Choucair, who traded on the information within minutes, the FCA said.

The confiscation comes after the pair lost a bid to overturn their conviction last month. They’d argued that the regulator should have disclosed more about two M&A advisers at Citigroup Inc. and a loose network of traders from London to Dubai.

The decision was a boost to the FCA in its most high-profile insider-trading trial in years. Mark Steward, the agency’s executive director of enforcement, said that the appeal was “an attempt to undermine the jury’s verdict by collaterally attacking” the regulator.

The amount of the confiscation order is higher than those imposed on bankers convicted of market manipulation -- another priority for financial crime fighters. Former Citigroup trader Tom Hayes, who was found guilty of masterminding a sprawling rate-rigging conspiracy, was told to pay just 880,000 pounds. Former Deutsche Bank AG star trader Christian Bittar, who was jailed on similar grounds, paid 2.5 million pounds. Ex-Deutsche Bank AG insider trading convict Martyn Dodgson had to pay 1.1 million pounds.

Still, it’s well below the 7.3 million pounds a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker was ordered to pay in a money laundering case in 2019.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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