Pair jailed in Australia’s biggest case of insider trading

A former NAB banker and a former Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) analyst have been handed lengthy jail sentences for insider trading.

Former banker Lukas Kamay and former ABS analyst Christopher Hill were found guilty of what Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth called “the worst instance of insider trading” Australian courts had seen.

Kamay was jailed for seven years and three months, with a minimum term of four and a half years, and Hill was handed a prison sentence of three years and three months, with a minimum term of two years.

The court heard of how, between August 2013 and May 2014, Hill had used his position in the ABS to deliver handwritten notes from unpublished information on matters relating to expenditure, retail trade and building approvals. The pair used the information to enter into foreign exchange derivative products and to profit from movements in the market.

The illegal trading, which lasted for nine months, resulted in profits of approximately $7 million. Kamay took an overall net profit of $7 million, while Hill saw a return of under $20,000. The court heard that Hill did not know that Kamay had pushed the scheme past the $200,000 mark they had originally agreed would be their limit.

The AFP-led Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce restrained the profits, which has now been forfeited to the Commonwealth and placed into the Confiscated Assets Account.

In a statement, the ABS commended the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for their efforts.

“This outcome clearly demonstrates that actions such as Mr Hill’s, which seriously breached the trust placed in him as an ABS officer, will not go undetected or unpunished,” the ABS said.

“The arrest and conviction of an ABS staff member for unauthorised disclosure of statistics is unprecedented in ABS history spanning more than 100 years. The ABS will continue to operate with our strong security culture and controls, and is committed to maintaining a strict embargo for the release of statistics to ensure no one can obtain an inappropriate advantage from early access.”

Justice Hollingworth, while taking into account the men had pleaded guilty and had shown remorse, said the men were ultimately driven “by personal greed, pure and simple.”

The judge said she hoped their sentences would serve as deterrence to other young people in the corporate world inclined to take part in illegal activity.

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