BLUE COLLAR TACTICS IN WHITE COLLAR CASES – CROSSING THE POND
Blue collar tactics in white collar cases has become the topic of discussion in the wake of the Galleon insider trading cases, discussed here. Informants, wire taps and wires were used in the Galleon investigation, yielding some of the most significant insider trading cases in years. While this was not the first time that tactics more typically seen in organized crime cases have been used in white collar prosecutions, it is one of the most high profile.
Now, however, these tactics seem to have crossed the pond. The UK’s FSA is adopting these tactics in a get tough campaign on insider trading. Shaking off critics who claimed the regulator is not aggressive, this week the FSA teamed up for the first time with London’s Serious Frauds Office in what is being called its biggest enforcement effort. The FSA and FSO dispatched 143 agents on a raid of 16 London and South England homes and business locations as part of an insider dealing investigation which has been underway for the two years. The agents seized documents and computers which supposedly are part of a large, long running insider dealing ring.
Six individuals were arrested during the raid, including an executive from Deutsche Bank, a senior employee of BNP Paribas, and a trader at New York City-based hedge fund Moore Capital, who supposedly was using his personal rather that firm accounts. The FSA apparently believes that London city professionals are passing inside information to traders either directly or through middlemen. Prior to this week, there have been five arrests in connection with this investigation.
In the last two years, the FSA has obtained convictions in six insider dealing cases. The agency currently is prosecuting three other criminal insider trading cases. As part of its campaign against insider dealing, the FSA is reportedly adopting the techniques of its U.S. counterparts, including the use of co-operating witnesses and telephone taping. Last week, the regulator proposed requiring London firms to record and retain conversations on mobile phones provided to employees to help track market abuse.