Ford wants Keydata probe ban over email breach

Stewart Ford, founder of Keydata Investment Services, has told a judge that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) should exclude from its investigation of the firm anyone who saw protected emails that were improperly obtained by the regulator.

According to Bloomberg, lawyers for Ford also called on the FSA to hand over communications with other agencies who have received the emails, such as the Serious Fraud Office, the Insolvency Service in the UK and financial watchdogs in both Luxemburg and the Cayman Islands.

The FSA placed Keydata into administration in June 2009. The regulator had been investigating the firm two years earlier to see whether it targeted investors with misleading advertisements as well as tax irregularities.

Speaking at a hearing in London yesterday, Hodge Malek, one of Ford’s lawyers, said: “We want to know who at the FSA has seen the material. We say those people should be taken off the case.”

A ruling in October 2011 deemed that the FSA improperly obtained the emails sent by Ford and other directors to legal advisers as they were covered by the attorney client privilege. The review led to the FSA suspending its four-year investigation into the regulator.

Malek said the FSA’s dispersal of the emails to other regulators shows it was “hell-bent” on bringing Ford down.

Malek said: “The FSA could have followed the correct and open path; instead they decided to take a risk because they thought the material was juicy and prejudicial and would help their case. They took a risk and they were wrong.”

In addition to banning the material being used for any purpose, Malek also wants copies of FSA letters informing other agencies about the judgment as well as any responses.