Banker acquitted in FCA WhatsApp trial

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Banker acquitted in FCA WhatsApp trial

A former banker who was charged over deleting his WhatsApp messages in an insider dealing investigation has been acquitted by a jury. 

Konstantin Vishnyak was found not guilty at Southwark Crown Court of one count of destroying documents in September 2018, in a loss for the regulator in the first case of its kind. 

The City watchdog said it was "disappointed with the outcome" but "respected the verdict".

Mr Vishnyak, 42, worked at VTB Capital between 2008 and 2016 and was first charged with the offence of which he is now acquitted in September last year. 

The prosecution was the first brought by the UK's financial regulator in relation to a destruction of documents offence under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The rules specify a person is guilty of an offence if he or she knows an investigation is being or is likely to be conducted and destroys any relevant documents. 

This applies if a person "falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of a document which he knows or suspects is or would be relevant to such an investigation", unless they show no intention of concealing facts disclosed by the documents from the investigator.

Despite its disappointment the FCA pledged to take action "whenever evidence we need is tampered with or destroyed". 

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