Friday, April 1, 2011

Malaysian banker jailed in Sydney for insider trading

April 01, 2011

SYDNEY, April 1 — A Malaysian, who was formerly a fund manager with Macquarie Bank in Australia, has been jailed for 30 months for insider trading that netted him some A$1.4 million (RM4.2 million).

Oswyn de Silva will be deported back to Malaysia upon the expiry of his term.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported today that the Justice Terence Buddin of the NSW Supreme Court had made discounts to de Silva’s sentence by offering a 12-month good behaviour bond on grounds that the 37-year-old had earlier pleaded guilty, his good character and the bail conditions of the past six months.

The judge also reportedly considered the adverse publicity surrounding de Silva’s case, his “significant fall from grace” and his HIV status, the daily reported.

But de Silva, it added, had not repaid any of his illegally-gained funds.

De Silva had also told the court yesterday that the work environment in Macquarie was “toxic” and that he felt discriminated against due to his homosexuality.

The daily however quoted Buddin as saying that although de Silva’s illegal trading had only started after he discovered he was HIV positive, this was “not an excuse”.

‘‘The fact remains that the offender sought to act as he did in order to enrich himself,” said the judge.

Buddin added that it was clear in the case that the trading was the work of a “true insider” placed in a position of trust as he had greater access to insider information.

“There exists a correspondingly greater capacity to cause damage to the securities market and those who invest in it,” he said.

The daily also explained that de Silva had purportedly traded from a computer at a cafe in the Macquarie Bank Sydney headquarters via a secret online account he had with a Singapore broking firm.

“It was not until mid-2008 that the Monetary Authority of Singapore alerted Australian authorities to the suspected insider trades, which had netted de Silva $1.4 million,” it said, adding that de Silva’s illegal trading activities between December 2006 and April 2007 had escaped the authorities’ attention.

The court also heard that de Silva’s tenure at the bank had commenced in 2005 where he roped in a salary of A$175,000, which rose to A$220,000 in 2007, and he had also received A$680,000 in bonuses and profit share.

“When he left the bank’s London office in 2008 because of ill health, and was given a A$90,000 severance cheque, he felt ‘guilty about his previous antipathy to his employer’.

“Funds went on a Porsche, an apartment in Malaysia, cocaine and cannabis,” the daily wrote.

De Silva had worked in the real estate-related securities of the Asian region in Macquarie.