Moore Trader Nabbed In London Insider-Trading Sweep

Mar 23 2010 | 6:25pm ET

A Moore Capital Management trader was one of six people arrested today as part of an insider-trading crackdown in the U.K.

The hedge fund’s London office was also raided as part of a sting operation by the Financial Services Authority and Serious Organized Crime Agency. More than 140 FSA officials took part, seizing both computers and documents in raids on 16 locations.

Neither Moore nor the FSA released the names of those taken into custody, although the US$15 billion hedge fund did confirm that one of its employees had been arrested. Media reports have identified him as Julian Rifat, a trader on Moore’s equity execution desk. Rifat has previously worked at hedge funds Brevan Howard Asset Management and VCM Fund Management.

In addition to Rifat, authorities arrested two senior professionals at “leading City institutions.” Deutsche Bank’s London offices were also raided as part of the sting, and an employee at Exane BNP Paribas was questioned by the FSA.

“It is believed that the City professionals passed inside information to traders—either directly or via middlemen—who traded on this information and have made significant profits as a result,” the FSA alleged. The arrests are the culmination of a probe launched in late 2007, and which is still ongoing.

Rifat has been placed on leave from Moore. The New York-based firm is cooperating with the British authorities; the allegedly illicit trading is believed to have been through Rifat’s personal account and did not involve any Moore accounts.

“We understand from the FSA that the investigation concerns possible insider dealing and the investigation of the employee does not involve any of the funds managed by Moore Capital,” the hedge fund said in a statement. “Moore capital is co-operating fully with the FSA in its investigation. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.”

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