Day Trader in UBS Insider-Trading Trial Says He Had Many Sources

(Bloomberg) -- A day trader charged with insider trading shared information with a wide network of wealthy colleagues and financial journalists, not just the former UBS Group AG compliance officer he’s on trial with, his lawyer said.

Walid Choucair was in constant communication with a number of traders, including multimillionaire Alshair Fiyaz, to make successful bets, the lawyer, Richard Wormald, told a London jury Wednesday. He pointed to a list of phone calls Choucair made before and after trades from a burner phone.

"The traders were a millionaire, a multimillionaire," Wormald said during the second week of the trial. "People who have yachts and live a flamboyant lifestyle. They fly in and out of London, Monaco, Switzerland. Wealthiest and most flamboyant of all, a Mr. Alshair Fiyaz."

Choucair and former UBS compliance officer Fabiana Abdel-Malek are charged with insider dealing. Choucair made $1.8 million from trades, based on information Abdel-Malek found on UBS’s internal deal database, according to the prosecutors from the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority.

The pair have pleaded not guilty, saying that although they were friends, Abdel-Malek didn’t supply Choucair with any price sensitive information. They face as long as seven years in jail if they are convicted.

Choucair, 39, shared information about stocks with a handful of connected individuals, including several other traders and two financial journalists, including one who worked at Bloomberg News at the time, Wormald said. He called all of them multiple times from his burner phone before and after making trades, he said.

Wormald told jurors that prosecutors had focused too narrowly on five stocks, while Choucair had actually traded in 76 companies, he said.

Abdel-Malek, meanwhile, accessed the internal deals database more than 2,000 times, far more than the prosecution disclosed, suggesting the searches weren’t directly related to Choucair’s investments, he said.

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