Pair convicted of insider trading lose appeal

Pair convicted of insider trading lose appeal

A former UBS compliance officer and her family friend have had their appeals against insider trading convictions quashed by the court. 

In June last year Fabiana Abdel-Malek and Walid Choucair were each convicted of five offences of insider dealing and sentenced to three years in prison at Southwark Crown Court. 

The case was brought by the Financial Conduct Authority following an investigation which found Abdel-Malek had "abused her position" as a senior compliance officer at the investment bank UBS to pass inside information to her family friend and day trader Choucair. 

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The regulator alleged Choucair made a profit of approximately £1.4m from the trading. 

The FCA also said on occasions it could be shown that Abdel-Malek had inside information on screen whilst exchanging text messages with Choucair and a document relating to one of the deals was found by investigators during a search of her bedroom.

But the pair appealed their convictions alleging "insufficient disclosure" by the FCA made their convictions unsafe and they were released on bail pending the Court of Appeal's decision.

Following the court's decision to quash the appeals, Abdel-Malek and Choucair must now complete the remainder of their prison sentences. 

In his judgement, Lord Justice Nigel Davis said the case was "powerful" which in "reality called for an explanation from each of the appellants at trial".

He added: "The jury, having evaluated their evidence, did not believe them.

"The jury were made sure, on all the evidence, that the counts of insider trading on the indictment had been proved."

The City watchdog welcomed the dismissal of the appeals, stating they had been an "attempt to undermine the jury’s verdict by collaterally attacking the FCA".

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: "Today’s decision by the court vindicates the FCA’s decision-making in this matter. 

"The case also demonstrates the FCA’s determination to ensure those who abuse our markets, like these defendants, are held to account in accordance with the law, especially given deliberate abuse of trust and the use of sophisticated tactics to avoid detection." 

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