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Lawyer and accountant acquitted of insider trading

An accountant and lawyer accused of being involved in an insider trading ring have been acquitted by a court.

According to the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the case, which is the first of its kind the regulator has lost, was brought against Andrew King, an ex-finance director at biotech firm NeuTec Pharma and lawyer Michael McFall.

News reports claimed that Mr King provided the information relating to a proposed acquisition of NeuTec by Swiss firm Novartis.

Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, said: “Insider dealing cases are challenging to prove, but these were serious charges and we considered that the evidence provided a proper basis to put the case before a jury for them to decide.

“Criminal prosecutions are integral to the FSA’s long-term strategy of delivering credible deterrence and combating insider dealing.”

The judge discharged the jury from considering the case against Andrew Rimmington, a second lawyer, halfway through the hearing due to personal reasons.

Further figures provided by the FSA showed that the regulator is currently prosecuting 11 other people in relation to insider trading.

By Jim Ottewill