Lawyers named in FSA insider dealing case acquitted

The two lawyers accused by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) of insider dealing have been acquitted at Southwark Crown Court.

Former Dorsey & Whitney partner Andrew Rimmington and former McDermott Will & Emery partner Michael McFall were in 2006 accused of being passed information about Novartis’ £305m takeover of Neutec by the latter’s finance director Peter King, who was also acquitted (20 May 2009).

The case marks the first time the FSA has lost a criminal prosecution for insider dealing since the first case was launched in 2008.

Rimmington was represented by Saunders Law Partnership regulatory partner Stephen Gilchrist, who instructed Richard Lissack QC and Oliver Assersohn of Outer Temple Chambers. Rimmington was originally represented by Barlow Lyde & Gilbert financial services partner Ian Mason.

McFall turned to Kingsley Napley criminal and regulatory partner Stephen Gentle, who instructed Mukul Chawla QC of 9-12 Bell Yard and Bridget Petherbridge of QEB Hollis Whiteman.

King was advised by Irwin Mitchell regulation and investigations partner Sarah Wallace, who instructed Sir Ken McDonald QC and Julian Knowles of Matrix Chambers.

The FSA directly instructed Michael Bowes QC, also of Outer Temple, with in-house lawyer Sarah Clarke acting as junior.

The trio were charged with eight counts of insider dealing in relation to the Novartis deal, while King also faced a charge of disclosing non-public information. Neither firm was involved in the transaction.

Rimmington was sacked by Dorsey after the allegations first emerged just over a year ago (22 May 2009).

Following today’s verdict, the firm’s London co-managing partner Tim Moloney said:  “We’re very pleased for Andrew and his family with the result in this matter.”

McFall, a corporate partner at McDermott since 2004, left the firm in 2009 to set up a private equity consultancy service. He had previously also been at Dorsey.

The FSA’s first successful prosecution came in 2009 when former TTP Communications general counsel Christopher McQuoid and his father-in-law James William Melbourne were found guilty of insider dealing (27 March 2009). On that occasion, the FSA also turned to Outer Temple, with Bowes and Assersohn being instructed.