Ex-UBS Official Shared Giant Champagne Bottles at Trader’s Club

(Bloomberg) -- An investor accused of illegally receiving trading tips from a former UBS Group AG compliance officer regularly spent thousands of pounds on giant bottles of champagne at Tramp, a private members club in London’s upmarket Mayfair neighborhood.

Walid Choucair has been a Tramp member since 2001 and has gone about twice a month, the club’s General Manager David Fleming told a London jury on Wednesday, when he testified at the insider-trading trial of Choucair and ex-UBS compliance officer Fabiana Abdel-Malek.

The Financial Conduct Authority alleges that Abdel-Malek gave Choucair information from UBS that led to five of his trades, netting him 1.4 million pounds ($1.8 million) in profits. In return, the prosecution says, he treated her to nights out in Tramp. The FCA hasn’t suggested that money exchanged hands between the two and they both deny any wrongdoing.

The jury was shown a receipt for a 8,783 pound-bill from March 2013, when Abdel-Malek joined Choucair at Tramp. It included two jeroboams -- bottles that are four times the standard size -- worth 2,950 pounds each.

The amounts were "very typical" for Choucair and other members of the nightclub, Fleming said. Choucair’s trading associate, Alshair Fiyaz, was also a member, he said.

Tramp is a famous club, which has attracted the likes of actress Joan Collins and, on one occasion, three different James Bond actors -- Sean Connery, Roger Moore and George Lazenby -- who found themselves there at the same time, Fleming said. Tramp’s membership is 1,000 pounds a year, but because members’ rates don’t go up, Choucair still pays 500 pounds annually, Fleming said.

Some nights, Choucair played at the club with his band, "and a very good one," Fleming told the jury. "He’s always had a passion for guitars," he said.

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