Page last updated at 15:29 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Two are guilty of insider dealing

FSA headquarters
The convictions are an important step forward for the FSA

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has secured its first criminal convictions for insider dealing since its foundation in 1997.

Christopher McQuoid, a solicitor, and his father-in-law, James William Melbourne were today both found guilty.

They had been charged with illegally passing and receiving sensitive financial information.

The court found that Melbourne spent £20,000 on shares in a technology firm after McQuoid passed on information.

The two split a £48,900 profit between them.

Facing jail

McQuoid was legal counsel for the technology company TTP Communications as it was was about to be purchased by Motorola in May 2006.

That takeover information was passed to Melbourne, who in turn purchased TTP shares, which then more than tripled when the news was formally announced in June 2006.

The insider dealing was spotted by the FSA as part of a routine sweep on unusual share activity, which then brought criminal charges against the two men.

McQuoid and Melbourne now face up to seven years in jail when sentencing takes place on Monday, 30 March.

The FSA told the BBC that it felt that its civil powers to combat insider dealing had not been a strong enough deterrent, as there was no threat of imprisonment.

Three further cases of insider dealing are to come before the courts this year.

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