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Two in court on Motorola insider dealing charges

Regulator plays rough

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The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has taken two men to court over allegations of insider dealing during Motorola's takeover of TTP Communications.

Christopher McQuoid, 39, of Royston, Hertfordshire, formerly general counsel of TTP Communications, and James William Melbourne, 74, of Ripley, Derbyshire, are accused of buying 153,824 shares in TTP Communications on 30 May 2006 knowing that Motorola was on the brink of making an offer for the firm.

The two men pleaded not guilty to the charges at City of London Magistrates' Court yesterday. The court declined jurisidiction and decided the case was suitable for trial on indictment - proceedings were adjourned until 19 February. The defendants were released on unconditional bail.

The FSA is better known for hitting companies with fines rather than prosecuting anyone in court. This year the regulator has fined HFC Bank more than a million pounds for failing to provide proper payment protection and fined a stockbroker for high-pressure sales tactics.

Observers said it was a major change for the FSA which usually pursues civil cases rather than criminal charges. Potential fines for individuals found guilty on criminal charges are heavier and there is also the possibility of a prison sentence.

The FSA statement is here. ®

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