Insider dealer faces paying £3.9m or more jail

A day trader who was jailed for three years for insider dealing has now been ordered to repay £3.9m from the proceeds of his crime within the next month, or face a further five years in prison

In a case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and heard at Southwark Crown Court, the judge made a consent confiscation order totalling £3,893,964 to be paid by Walid Choucair.

In addition, the court ordered Choucair to pay £403,552 in prosecution costs to the FCA.

Choucair is required to pay the confiscation order by 1 March. If he fails to do so he will need to serve five years in default of payment.

In June 2019, Choucair  was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in respect of five offences of insider dealing alongside Fabiana Abdel-Malek, following a trial brought by the FCA.

Abdel-Malek was employed as a senior compliance officer by the investment bank UBS in their London office and used her position to identify inside information which she passed to her family friend Choucair, an experienced day trader of financial securities, using pay-as-you-go mobile telephones.

Abdel-Malek’s role meant she was trusted with access to price-sensitive information about potential mergers and acquisitions held within UBS on its compliance system. This system contained information about any proposed merger and acquisition transaction that UBS was either pitching for or working on.

At the original trial, the court was told Abdel-Malek repeatedly accessed inside information, across a number of transactions, over a sustained period. She created and printed documents containing inside information copied from the UBS compliance system which was disclosed to Choucair, who traded in the shares of the target companies.

Over the course of the indictment period in 2013 and 2014, Abdel-Malek and Choucair sought to conceal their criminal activity by using unregistered pay-as-you-go mobile phones, changing and swapping SIM cards at regular intervals, to communicate with one another.

Following their trial, both appealed their convictions alleging insufficient disclosure by the FCA before, during and after the trial made their convictions unsafe. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeals in December 2020 and found there was no irregularity or unfairness. 

The amount of the confiscation order takes into account the amount of profit in the sum of approximately £1.4m made by Choucair from the five insider dealing charges together with profits arising from other trading carried out by him which the court is permitted to assume also represents proceeds of crime.

Mark Steward, FCA executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: ‘This confiscation order means Mr Choucair will have to surrender significant illegal trading profits following his convictions for insider dealing. Today’s order demonstrates that insider dealing does not pay.’

In August last year Southwark Crown Court made a consent confiscation order against Abdel-Malek in the sum of £34,194, which was paid in full on 10 September.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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