– A New York judge has agreed to release Australian financial analyst and accused inside trader Trent Martin from jail! ending three months behind bars in Hong Kong and Brooklyn.
Martin, 34, a good-looking financial whiz from Sydney’s northern beaches, was extradited under guard by US marshals from Hong Kong to New York on Thursday and appeared before US magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in a Manhattan court on Friday afternoon.
Martin entered not guilty pleas to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. Bail was set at $US250,000.
US prosecutors allege Martin was a key figure in an insider trading scandal involving computing giant IBM’s secret $1.2 billion takeover of software company SPSS in 2009.
Martin was arrested in Hong Kong, where he was working as a financial analyst, on December 23rd and days later agreed to be extradited to New York, but he remained behind bars in Hong Kong until Thursday.
US prosecutors and the FBI trumpeted Martin’s arrest and extradition, declaring it was a warning to others that no matter where the were in the world, they would be brought to justice in the US.
It is alleged Martin, while living in New York and working for a Connecticut-based firm in 2009, took confidential information from a New Zealand banker friend, who was working on the IBM-SPSS deal, and bought call option contracts ahead of the public announcement of the takeover.
It is also alleged Martin told his stockbroker flatmate, Thomas Conradt, about the confidential information and Conradt passed it on to a colleague, David Weishaus.
When IBM announced its acquisition of SPSS on July 28th, 2009, the share price of SPSS common stock rose by 41% in one day! from the prior day’s closing price of $US35.09 per share to a closing price of $US49.45.
While Martin sold some of his SPSS positions before the announcement after confiding to his Kiwi friend what he had done, he still yielded $US7900 from the information, prosecutors allege.
The New Zealander cannot be named because he is a key prosecution witness.
Conradt, Weishaus and two others sold their SPSS positions for a total profit of more than $US1 million, it is alleged.
Conradt and Weishaus are also facing charges. If found guilty, Martin faces up to 20 years’ in prison and a $US5 million fine – AAP


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

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