Police allege two men accused of insider trading communicated using mobile phones acquired in false names.
Two men allegedly involved in a $7 million insider trading racket used mobile phones in false names to communicate sensitive market information, a court has heard.
In the ACT Magistrates Court, Australian Federal Police agent Pamela Damokas said Christopher Russell Hill, 24, an employee of the Australian Bureau of Statistics in Canberra had access to data on Australia’s labour force and retail trade ahead of its official release.
He wrote that down and then communicated it to National Australia Bank employee Lukas James Kamay, 26, in Melbourne.
Using that inside information, Kamay made foreign exchange derivative trades, making just over $7 million.
Police opposed bail for Hill, alleging he remained a flight risk.
ACT Magistrate Bernadette Boss remanded him in custody to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday morning.
Hill, of the northern Canberra suburb of Belconnen, faces five charges – conspiring to engage in insider trading, aiding and abetting insider trading, receiving a bribe as a Commonwealth official, abuse of pubic office and dealing in proceeds of crime.
He hasn’t yet entered a plea.
In a 18-page statement of facts presented to the court, police said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) first received a complaint on February 18 from Pepperstone Financial about suspicious foreign exchange derivative trading from an account held by Kamay.
That related to a number of trades immediately ahead of release of ABS data. On each occasion, there was movement of the Australian dollar which produced a profit.
Two days later another firm AxiCorp also identified suspicious trading. On February 21, ASIC and the AFP launched an investigation.
Hill started with the ABS in January 2011, working as a technical statistics expert preparing reports on the labour force and employment. Kamay worked for NAB in Melbourne on the foreign exchange desk but was not involved in trading of derivatives.
The AFP said covert inquiries showed Hill and Kamay were Facebook friends and studied at Monash University at the same time.
In April, police observed the pair meeting in Melbourne and travelling to an Optus store where Kamay purchased two pre-paid phones in the name of an NAB client.
During this meeting, police legally monitored conversations in which they allegedly discussed insider trading, how to avoid suspicion, past and planned payments and new communication arrangements.
They also allegedly discussed future ABS announcements, planning to make five profitable trades and five at a loss so their win-loss ratio was normalised.
Kamay allegedly told Hill he would give him about $60,000 in the end.
Police said inquiries with Pepperstone and AxiCorp revealed trading on 23 days between September 12 and May 8, making $2,509,776 profit on March 13 alone.
On each day, trading coincided with release of ABS data.
Federal agent Pamela Damokas told the ACT Magistrates Court $9950 cash was found hidden in an overnight bag in Hill’s wardrobe when police searched his home.
Police also found three mobile phones and hand-written notes relating to ABS data. When questioned, he provided no comment answers on advice of legal counsel.
He’s been remanded in custody to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday morning.