Ex-Morgan Stanley Banker Gets 7 Years in Jail

An ex-Morgan Stanley banker was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison in Hong Kong's biggest insider trading case -- an "unprecedented" scam a judge said undermined the integrity of a leading Asian financial center

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Du Jun, a former managing director of the Wall Street investment bank, also was fined about 23.3 million Hong Kong dollars ($3 million).

The 40-year-old Beijing-native showed little emotion as a judge handed down the maximum sentence, chastising him for his "awful conduct" and "dishonesty and fraudulence."

"The scale was unprecedented," Judge Andrew Chan said, referring to the millions Du used in his illegal trades.

Du's lawyer Alexander King declined to say whether his client would appeal, only saying "use your common sense."

Du was convicted last week of nine counts of insider dealing for trading shares of Citic Resources Holdings before the company's announcement of an acquisition in 2007. He was also found guilty of a tenth related charge for helping his wife to deal in the shares.

He reportedly reaped about HK$33 million ($4.3 million) from his illegal trades.

The case marks the 10th conviction of insider trading since it was made a criminal offense in 2003 -- part of Hong Kong's effort to tighten regulation as it seeks to retain its status as a leading financial center.

It is also the longest and most heavily contested trial on insider dealing in the territory, according to Hong Kong regulators.

Du was accused of spending HK$86 million ($11.1 million) to buy 26.7 million shares in Citic Resources on nine occasions between February and April in 2007. During the period, he had access to confidential information as part of a Morgan Stanley team advising the listed company on a $1 billion purchase of an oil field in Kazakhstan and the issuing of bonds to finance the deal.

He reportedly reaped the $4.3 million in illegal profits two months after the announcement of the acquisition.