UPDATE 1-UK watchdog upholds $770,000 fine on “king of mining” banker – by Kirstin Ridley (Reuters India – July 22, 2014)


LONDON, July 22 (Reuters) – Britain’s financial watchdog has upheld a 450,000 pound ($768,000) fine on former JPMorgan banker Ian Hannam – a prominent dealmaker once dubbed the “king of mining” – for market abuse after a protracted court battle.

In an effort to clear his name, Hannam had fought to overturn the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) initial findings and fine of 2012. But in May, he lost his appeal in a landmark case that fuelled a high-level debate about how confidential information should be treated during deals.

The former soldier, who became one of London’s most prominent investment bankers renowned for his bulging contacts book and knack for a new idea, was awaiting news about whether the original FCA fine would be upheld – one of the largest levied against an individual in Britain.

Imposing the penalty, the head of the FCA’s enforcement and financial crime division Tracey McDermott urged all financial professionals to pay close attention to a judgment that did not question Hannam’s integrity, but sought to bring clarity to the grey area of what constitutes acceptable business conduct.

“It (the Tribunal judgment) should leave market participants in no doubt that casual and uncontrolled distribution of inside information is not acceptable in today’s markets,” she said on Tuesday.

Hannam, dubbed “king of mining” because of his weight in the resources sector, said he had decided against appealing the Tribunal decision and said he hoped his decision to challenge the FCA findings would ensure others were now better able to understand the scope and effect of inside information rules.

“I now wish to put this difficult period behind me and get on with my business career,” he said in a statement published on his website, thanking JP Morgan, friends and family who stood by him during “these difficult five years”.

The case hinged on two emails Hannam sent in 2008 to Iraqi Kurdistan’s oil minister Ashti Hawrami on behalf Heritage Oil , a client, which the regulator alleged included potential inside information about a potential takeover and a potential oil discovery.

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