Mark Lyttleton sentenced to one year in prison for insider trading

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Former BlackRock manager Mark Lyttleton has been sentenced to one year prison for insider trading today.

He was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court, where he received 18 months reduced with credit to 12 months. He was also confiscated of £149,000.

Trial judge HHJ Goymer said: “Insider dealing is not a victimless crime, I regard these offences as pre-meditated and blatantly dishonest.”

At the end of September, the FCA announced Lyttleton had been charged with three counts of insider dealing between 2 October 2011 and 16 December 2011.

He pled guilty to two counts of insider trading at Southwark Crown Court at the start of November.

Following today’s sentencing, FCA executive director of enforcement and oversight Mark Steward said: “Lyttleton’s insider dealing involved a gross abuse of the trust placed in him as a senior fund manager.  He tried to hide his misconduct through the use of unregistered mobile phones and setting up a company in his wife’s maiden name in an overseas jurisdiction.  None of this meant he could avoid detection.”

“Those who are tempted to insider deal, especially financial industry professionals,  must know now they are more likely to be caught than ever before and, when caught, they will likely face a custodial sentence.”

The two stocks concerned were EnCore Oil and Cairn Energy and were traded by Lyttleton through an overseas asset manager trading on behalf of a Panamanian registered company.

At the time Lyttleton worked in the fundamental equity team at Blackrock.

Formerly a star manager, he ran the BlackRock UK Absolute Alpha fund from its launch in April 2005 until April 2013, at one point managing £2bn in assets.

He was privy to inside information by both working on deals concerning the stocks or via conversations with colleagues.

He purchased shares a short time before information became public.

The offence is punishable by a fine or up to seven years imprisonment.