The former group treasurer and head of tax at Morrisons has been sentenced to one year in prison for insider trading.
The case, which brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), charged Paul Coyle with two counts of insider trading. Coyle was suspended from Morrisons back in January.
Coyle pleaded guilty to both counts and in addition to prison time was ordered to pay £15,000 toward the costs of prosecution. The former treasurer bought and sold shares in online grocer Ocado over three months when the company was in talks with Morrisons over a joint venture worth £216m.
Coyle's profits from the trading amounted to over £79,000.
Justice Globe, who delivered the sentence, told Coyle:
You came into possession of that information by your senior position within the organisation. Your breach of trust was significant.
Your actions were deliberate and in my judgement dishonest. You knew at the time what you were doing was illegal. You actions continued over a three month period and involved a number of individual trades.
Georgina Philippou, director of enforcement and market oversight said:
Mr Coyle committed a serious breach of trust by using the confidential price sensitive information he received as part of his role at Morrisons for his own personal gain.
Abuse of inside information in this way undermines the integrity of the UK financial markets. We are committed to prosecuting insider dealing to ensure our markets remain a ‘level playing field’ for all participants.