Former Moore Capital hedge fund trader Julian Rifat has been jailed for 19 months for insider dealing, the culmination of a five year investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Rifat, who was a senior execution trader and portfolio strategist at Moore Europe Capital Management was sentenced yesterday (March 19) at Southwark Crown Court, and also fined £100,000 for the same offences and ordered to pay costs of £159,402.
It marks the end of the most complex Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigation since the regulator's inception.
Rifat profited from sensitive information about companies which he used to make illegal trades on their share values. It netted him more than £250,000. Some of his largest transactions took place in the latter half of 2009, said the regulator.
The father of three, who was charged on his 41st birthday back in 2010, used the ill-gotten gains to pay for things like exotic holidays and a new Range Rover.
Rifat admitted passing inside information, obtained during the course of his employment, to an associate, Graeme Shelley, previously a broker at Novum Securities. Shelley pleaded guilty in 2014 to insider trading with Rifat and with another associate Paul Milsom, formerly an execution trader at Legal and General Insurance Management, who pleaded guilty to the same charges in 2013.
Rifat made deals using illegal tips in companies including Barclays and Volkswagen and used unregistered Pay As You Go mobile phones to communicate with third parties as a way of concealing discussions of the illegal trades.
His Honour Judge McCreath said Rifat had acted "deliberately and dishonestly" but gave him credit for his guilty plea and additional credit for his significant personal mitigation - which is surprising given that Rifat refused to be interviewed by the FCA on more than one occasion and made official complaints about the length of time investigations were taking.
Georgina Philippou, FCA acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said: "Mr Rifat was a very experienced market professional. He was privy to highly sensitive information at the heart of some of the largest transactions in the UK financial markets during the latter half of 2009.
"Mr Rifat's behaviour exploited financial markets during a particularly challenging time just as they were taking steps to recover from the 2008 crisis. The smooth running of our financial markets requires market professionals to play by the rules – Mr Rifat knew the rules, but he abused them for his own benefit."
Rifat's iniquitous saga is dramatic fall from grace: in 2009 he was one of three Moore employees named in a list of "15 Institutional Investors That Matter" by Morgan Stanley.
His 46th birthday, on Monday, will be celebrated behind bars.