The former treasurer and head of tax at supermarket giant Morrisons has been jailed for a year after pleading guilty to insider trading.
As previously reported by Retail Week, Paul Coyle was charged after buying Ocado shares between February and May 2013.
Ocado shares surged in May 2013 when the etailer announced an agreement with Morrisons to deliver goods ordered online by the supermarket’s customers.
Ocado’s shares soared 50% on the day the deal was announced, dropping back to end 29% higher on the day.
Coyle pleaded guilty to two offences of insider dealing at Leeds Crown Court, where he was also handed a confiscation order for £203,234 and ordered to pay £15,000 towards prosecution costs.
The Financial Conduct Authority said Coyle used two online accounts in the name of his partner, from which he made a profit of around £79,000.
Georgina Philippou, the FCA’s director of enforcement and market oversight, said Coyle had committed “a serious breach of trust by using the confidential price-sensitive information he received as part of his role at Morrisons for his own personal gain.”
A spokeswoman for Morrisons said in a statement: “While this was a regrettable case of an individual acting alone, we are pleased that our governance and processes were sufficiently robust to enable the authorities to achieve a successful prosecution.
“We are also pleased that the case has concluded and that the FCA’s investigation did not raise wider concerns for the company.”
As he passed sentence the judge Mr Justice Globe said “the offending was so serious that an immediate custodial sentence must be imposed.”