Pair face ban after insider trading ruling

Steve Dinneen
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A FORMER research analyst at Evolution Securities and his spread betting friend could be banned from working in financial services after a tribunal decided they had committed market abuse by insider trading.

Robin Chhabra covered Ebookers and Eidos for Evolution during the summer of 2004.

He was found to have passed restricted information to his friend Sameer Patel, an experienced spread better.

The tribunal decided that on three occasions Chhabra called Patel within minutes of receiving information on the companies he was covering. Soon after Patel would place spread bets on the companies’ stock.

Patel earned £85,541 from the three bets.

The tribunal concluded: “Patel did place his bets in reliance on restricted information not generally available which had been disclosed to him by Chhabra... both Chhabra and Patel did engage in market abuse.”

The men, who both denied any wrongdoing, face being banned from working in the financial services industry and could also be fined. The punishment will be handed down at a separate hearing.

Chhabra's lawyer, Louise Hodges of Kingsley Napley, and Evolution did not return calls.

The men, both 38, have been close friends since attending the London School of Economics and Political Science together. They were best men at each other’s wedding.

Chhabra left Evolution in 2006 to become a director at Inspired Gaming Group but left the firm “several years ago” according to a company spokesman.

Patel was an analyst at General Motors Asset Management.

A Financial Services Authority spokesman said: “We don't comment on individuals but this case shows that we can provide a deterrent against market abuse.”