Former Group Treasurer and Head of Tax at Morrisons plc sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for insider dealing

Paul Coyle, the former Group Treasurer and Head of Tax at Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, pleaded guilty to two counts of insider dealing and has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. He was also ordered to pay £15,000 towards prosecution costs and a Confiscation Order in the sum of £203,234.

In a case brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Paul Coyle, the former Group Treasurer and Head of Tax at Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, has today pleaded guilty to two counts of insider dealing.  Profits from the dealing exceeded £79,000.  He has today been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment as result of his dealing.  He was also ordered to pay £15,000 towards prosecution costs and a Confiscation Order in the sum of £203,234. 

Between 24 January and 17 May 2013 Coyle, through his role at Morrisons,   was regularly privy to confidential price sensitive information about Morrisons’ ongoing talks regarding a proposed joint venture with Ocado Group plc.  Coyle took advantage of this information by trading in Ocado shares between 12 February and 17 May 2013 using two online accounts which were in the name of his partner.

In sentencing Paul Coyle the judge, Mr Justice Globe, commented: ‘the offending was so serious that an immediate custodial sentence must be imposed.’

Georgina Philippou, Acting Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight said:

‘Mr Coyle committed a serious breach of trust by using the confidential price sensitive information he received as part of his role at Morrisons for his own personal gain.  Abuse of inside information in this way undermines the integrity of the UK financial markets. We are committed to prosecuting insider dealing to ensure our markets remain a ‘level playing field’ for all participants.’  

Notes to editors

  1. The FCA, and previously the Financial Services Authority, have secured 26 convictions in relation to insider dealing: Christopher McQuoid and James William Melbourne in March 2009; Matthew and Neel Uberoiin November 2009, Malcolm Calvert on 11 March 2010, Anjam Ahmad on 22 June 2010, Neil Rollins on 21 January 2011, Christian Littlewood and Angie Littlewood on 8 October 2010 and Helmy Omar Sa'aidon 10 January 2011,  Rupinder Sidhu on 15 December, and James and Miranda Sanders together with James Swallow in May 2012  and  Ali Mustafa, Pardip Saini, Paresh Shah, Neten Shah, Bijal Shah and Truptesh Patel on 27 July 2012, Thomas Ammann on 13 December 2012, Paul Milsom on 7 March 2013, Richard Joseph on 11 March 2013 and Graeme Shelley on 27 March 2014, Julian Rifat on 7 November 2014, Ryan Willmott on the 26 February 2015.
  2. The FCA is currently prosecuting seven other individuals for insider dealing: 
    Martyn Dodgson - 11 January 2016
    Andrew Hind - 11 January 2016
    Benjamin Anderson - 11 January 2016
    Iraj Parvizi - 11 January 2016
    Richard Baldwin - 11 January 2016
    Grant Harrison - 11 January 2016
    Damian Clarke - 14 March 2016
  3. The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 gives the FCA powers to investigate and prosecute insider dealing, defined by The Criminal Justice Act 1993.
  4. Individuals with information about market abuse can call the FCA’s market abuse hotline on 020 7066 4900.
  5. On the 1 April 2013 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became responsible for the conduct supervision of all regulated financial firms and the prudential supervision of those not supervised by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
  6. The FCA has an overarching strategic objective of ensuring the relevant markets function well. To support this it has three operational objectives: to secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers; to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system; and to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers.
  7. You can find more information about the FCA, as well as how it is different to the PRA.