The logo for LinkedIn Corporation
The logo for LinkedIn CorporationREUTERS

Former National Australia Bank associate director Lukas Kamay has been charged with insider trading in a scam that was detected because of his friendship on the networking site LinkedIn with an employee at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Kamay, who was LinkedIn friends with ABS employee named Chris Hill, is alleged to have gleaned sensitive inside information from the latter, and used this information before it was officially announced to make millions through bets on the Australian dollar.

Hill, who worked as a technical statistics expert at ABS, is accused of sending market-sensitive data to his friend Kamay via mobile phones purchased in false names.

The connection was spotted by foreign exchange broker Owen Kerr, who said the trades by Kamay "were really an all-or-nothing bet and not something someone would normally rationally make".

Kerr explained how he looked up Kamay's profile via his gold LinkedIn account and found he was friends with an Australia Bureau of Statistics employee Christopher Hill through Monash University.

"That was when it suddenly clicked that this guy was only trading ABS data and had a man on the inside," said Kerr.

Kerr informed police of the link and they arrested Kamay and Hill on 9 May after a nine-month surveillance of the friends' voice calls and text messages. Their assets have been frozen following the arrests. The assets include a luxury apartment that Lukas Kamay, 26, bought last month.

Kamay faces seven criminal charges, while Hill faces five. Both of them were released on bail.

Hill allegedly provided Kamay with confidential information about housing and building approvals in the country ahead of their timely release. Kamay has allegedly made up to A$7m (£3.9m, $6.6m, €4.8m) over nine months after offering Hill a bribe of A$50,000 for the information.

National Australia Bank (NAB) said that it has no role in the scam, adding that "no NAB money, no NAB customer money or NAB systems" were used in the crime. The bank also sacked Kamay from his junior position on the dealing desk.