News National Mates arrested in $7m insider trading sting

Mates arrested in $7m insider trading sting

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A junior public servant and a university mate who worked as a financial analyst have been charged over an alleged $7 million insider trading operation.

Australian Federal Police allege 24-year-old Australian Bureau of Statistics staffer Christopher Russell Hill gave market-sensitive information to National Australia Bank associate director Lukas Kamay, who has been sacked.

Kamay, 26, allegedly used the labour force, retail and trade figures – which had yet to be publicly released – to predict fluctuations in the Australian dollar.

The activity generated about $7 million in profits between August last year and this month, AFP acting assistant commissioner Ian McCartney said.

Of the $7 million, $6.5 million went into investment accounts, $500,000 was spent on a residential property and $15,000 on a car.

Hill, of Belconnen in the ACT, was allegedly offered between $50,000 and $60,000 by Kamay to provide the confidential information.

All of the alleged proceeds of crime have been seized by police, who executed eight warrants in Canberra and Melbourne on Friday.

Kamay, of Clifton Hill, briefly appeared in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday afternoon facing seven charges, including insider trading and bribery.

The Monash University graduate was granted bail with sureties of $200,000 and $300,000 and barred from trading on any Australian financial market.

Kamay will face the same court in August.

The bank said in a statement no NAB money or NAB customer money was involved in the case and no bank computer systems had been involved in the trading.

Hill, who will appear in ACT Magistrates Court on Saturday, has been suspended from the agency and faces insider trading, corruption and abuse of public office charges.

ABS said in a statement he was a relatively junior officer with “trusted access to a number of economic collections”.

No other ABS staff were involved and no personal or business information was released.

The agency described the action as “an appalling breach of trust”.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission manager Chris Savundra said the trading involved online margin foreign exchange derivatives.

Mr Savundra said the case was important because the movement of the dollar affected all Australians.

“The integrity of this market is of fundamental importance to all Australians,” he said.

While he would not say how ASIC came across the case, Mr Savundra said the agency used surveillance, intelligence, complaints, tip-offs and misconduct reports to discover such activity.