FSA continues market abuse crackdown with new £60,000 fine

FSA continues market abuse crackdown with new £60,000 fine


As one of the many scapegoats for the current economic crisis, the FSA must be feeling the pressure to get its act together. That is probably why the regulator has issued four market abuse fines since November, and the latest one is now the sixth biggest individual fine for insider trading and the ninth biggest ever levied by it. 

OBE company director, Darwin Lewis Clifton, has just been hit with a £59,500 fine after admitting to profiting from trades based on insider information.


According to the FSA, on four different occasions between the 19th of November 2007 and the 8th of February 2008, Mr Clifton directed his company Byron Holdings to buy shares in Desire, an AIM quoted firm where he held the position of non-executive director.  


Mr Clifton has claimed that he did not realise his actions were illegal. The FSA also acknowledged in a statement that he did “not deliberately set out to commit market abuse.”


Since he fully cooperated with the investigation, Mr Clifton was granted a 30% reduction to his fine. His company, Byron Holdings, received a fine of £86,030 for dealing in shares of Desire.


It was revealed that Byron bought 440,000 shares in Desire for £118,570, making a profit of £86,030 once the joint venture was disclosed to the wider market. Therefore the FSA fine effectively cancels the profits on the trades.


FSA director of enforcement, Margaret Cole stated: “Mr Clifton held a position of trust as a non-executive director of Desire, but he fell short of the high standards expected of someone in that position.


“Senior people at publicly quoted companies should ensure that they understand when material is inside information and do not trade when they have it. If they fail to do this they can expect the FSA to impose substantial financial or other sanctions.”

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