On January 22, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced that former general counsel of TTP Communications PLC (TTP) Christopher McQuoid and McQuoid’s father-in-law James Melbourne had appeared before the City of London Magistrates Court charged with insider dealing under section 52 of the UK’s Criminal Justice Act 1993.

McQuoid was formerly the head of legal at Thomas Cook and he was general counsel at TTP between 2000 and 2007. The FSA have alleged that the two men were in possession of inside information about a proposed cash offer from Motorola Incorporated for the entire issued share capital of TTP when they acquired 153,824 shares in TTP on May 30, 2006.

The FSA has previously communicated its intention to take a harder line on insider trading and this is the first time it has brought a criminal case for insider trading. Previous cases had been brought under the FSA’s civil enforcement powers.

The defendants have indicated a plea of not guilty. The Magistrates Court, as is usual with serious charges, committed the defendants for trial in the Crown Court. The proceedings were adjourned until February 19 and the defendants were granted bail.

 www.fsa.gov.uk/pages/Library/Communication/PR/2008/006.shtml