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Irwin Mitchell's Regulatory & Criminal Investigations team recently represented Andrew King at Southwark Crown Court. He was charged with insider dealing based on allegations that he passed inside information to a lawyer friend about an impending takeover of the company of which he was the Finance Director. It took a jury less than 90 minutes to decide that he was not guilty of the allegations made during the seven-week trial.

This was the first ever acquittal in a Financial Services Authority (FSA) prosecution for insider dealing and it was the first time that the FSA had identified and prosecuted the alleged source of the information. Mr King was the Finance Director of the biotech company NeuTec Pharma, which was taken over in 2006 by Novartis, the pharmaceutical giant.

Historically the FSA has taken a co-operative, “light touch” approach to its regulation but, over the last three years or so, its criminal prosecution of those individuals who it believes to have broken the rules has gathered momentum. There is now a steady stream of individuals who have already faced, or are awaiting, trial and not all of them work in the financial services sector.

The effects of being the subject of an investigation can be enormously detrimental - stressful, loss of job and inability to earn and reputational damage even if the investigation is not taken forward or a prosecution fails.  If you need to obtain legal advice in relation to any FSA issue, contact the Regulatory & Criminal Investigations Group at Irwin Mitchell.

Yorkshire & North East: Paul Haycock