ASIC has managed to jail just five people for insider trading over the
past 15 years – and two of these, PR man Murray Williams and Rene
Rivkin, only got periodic detention. These names are from Crikey’s ASIC jail list, which Steve Vizard will not be joining after his successful plea bargain with the corporate plod:

1. PR man Murray Evan Williams, 4 Oct 1996:
18 months periodic detention and fined $50,000 following insider
trading charges in relation to the purchase of shares in Australis

2.Simon Gautier Hannes, 17 Sept 1999:
Executive director of Macquarie Bank got 2.1 years for insider trading
on $2 million of TNT securities and structuring withdrawals to avoid
the reporting requirements under the Financial Transactions Act. In
December 2002 the court affirmed the guilty verdict and Hannes received
2.5 years.

3.Kenneth John Firns, 14 April 2000:
14 months for insider trading in 1995 of mining company Carpenter
Pacific Resources NL. Conviction and sentence quashed on 22 May 2001.

4.Rene Walter Rivkin, 28 May 2003: Nine months of periodic weekend detention and a fine of $30,000. Rivkin was sentenced for insider trading.

5. Maxwell John Sweetman, 17 Dec 2004: 18
months imprisonment on each charge to be served concurrently for two
charges of insider trading in the shares of Harts Australasia. He was a
former Executive Director of the company.

There was another
strong prima facie case of insider trading last year against the Fares
brothers, Michael and John, who made $10 million on an incredibly timed
derivatives play with AMP. Michael just happened to be an accountant at
NAB who worked on the same floor as the strategic planning team who put
together NAB’s aborted raid on AMP, which sent its price into orbit.

my opinion, the boys should have been charged with insider trading and
put on the stand to give evidence. Instead, we’ve had some minor
charges over the financial transactions in which the loot was to be
shifted offshore, as you can see here.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey