Lawyer denies 'insider deal'

PUBLISHED: 08:26 12 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:56 04 May 2010

Pic shows Christopher McQuoid
A solicitor and his father-in-law are in court in the first ever prosecution of accused insider dealing by the Financial Services Authority.

Christopher McQuoid, and James Melbourne, are accused of buying shares in wireless technology firm TTP Communications PLC just before it was taken over by Motorola, the US mobile handset maker, in 2006.
Trial started today. 9.3.09
SEE STORY CENTRAL NEWS

Pic shows Christopher McQuoid A solicitor and his father-in-law are in court in the first ever prosecution of accused insider dealing by the Financial Services Authority. Christopher McQuoid, and James Melbourne, are accused of buying shares in wireless technology firm TTP Communications PLC just before it was taken over by Motorola, the US mobile handset maker, in 2006. Trial started today. 9.3.09 SEE STORY CENTRAL NEWS

A LAWYER is accused of pocketing a profit by leaking inside information about the imminent takeover of the company he worked for. Christopher McQuoid, 40, of Aldouse Court, Fowlmere, and his father-in-law James Melbourne, 75, of Broadway Lodge, Ripley, De

A LAWYER is accused of pocketing a profit by leaking inside information about the imminent takeover of the company he worked for.

Christopher McQuoid, 40, of Aldouse Court, Fowlmere, and his father-in-law James Melbourne, 75, of Broadway Lodge, Ripley, Derbyshire, both deny a charge of insider dealing relating to the takeover of Melbourn-based firm TTP Communications by mobile phone company Motorola in May 2006.

Southwark Crown Court was told that Mr Melbourne bought 153,824 TTP shares for just over £20,000 and split profits of nearly £49,000 "down the middle" with his son-in-law.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) claims that Mr McQuoid, who was working as the in-house lawyer for TTP at the time, tipped off Mr Melbourne that the shares in the technology firm would rocket from 14.5 pence to 45 pence once the deal went ahead.

Mr Michael Bowes QC, for the FSA, said: "The prosecution's case is that Mr McQuoid gave inside information to his father-in-law, which enabled him to buy shares in TTP just before the announcement of the takeover.

"As a result, the shares made a great deal of profit and after that they split the proceeds."

The court was told that on May 30, 2006, two days before the takeover was announced, Mr Melbourne visited his local bank and bought £20,310 worth of shares in TTP.

A month later, Motorola contacted him, along with the firm's other shareholders, and offered to buy his shares for £69,220.80.

"Once the initial outlay was subtracted, he made a profit of £48,919.20," Mr Bowes said.

Mr McQuoid was later paid a cheque for "exactly half the profits", jurors were told.

Mr Melbourne was subsequently interviewed by investigators for the FSA, and claimed his decision to buy shares in TTP was a "gamble and a shot in the dark."

Mark Collins, Mr McQuoid's line manager and a TTP board member, said the lawyer was one of a handful of employees "in the loop" about the merger, and that a strict non-disclosure policy had been imposed prior to the deal being announced to the Stock Exchange.

The trial, which is expected to last for two weeks, continues.

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