Ma Hon-yeung, a former BNP Paribas vice president, and his girlfriend, Ivy Lo, have become the first people in Hong Kong to be jailed for insider share trading. Ma Hon-yeung, a former BNP Paribas vice president, was sent to prison for 26 months and fined 230,000 Hong Kong dollars ($29,500), while his girlfriend was imprisoned for 12 months and fined 210,000 Hong Kong dollars, the South China Morning Post reported. DPA reports that the fines were equal to the profit they made from the illegal dealing in shares of Egana Jewellery & Pearls before it went privatize three years ago.
As previously discussed here, the couple and four others were found guilty of insider trading last month in the first-ever trial for such an offense under the Securities and Futures Ordinance. Lo reportedly bought 1.51 million shares in Egana between June 20 and July 6, 2006.
Judge Patrick Li said that “insider dealing is serious dishonest conduct. To maintain our position as an international financial centre, it is important to eliminate insider dealing and to reinforce the transparency of the markets.” Securities Futures Commission chief executive Martin Wheatley said “the message should now be loud and clear that insider dealers will go to jail.”