- Facing up to 25 years' jail for alleged $US7900 illegal profit
- 'Attorney-1' and the 'deal' between mates
Trent Martin, the Australian financial analyst wanted by the US for an alleged insider-trading scheme, is not challenging his extradition, a Hong Kong court has been told.
Mr Martin, 33, consented to surrender, his lawyer, Kyle Wombolt, told Hong Kong's Eastern Magistrates Court today. Mr Martin told the court he was aware of the extradition proceedings and signed the required consent.
Mr Martin, from New South Wales, was arrested in Hong Kong on December 22 on US charges relating to an alleged insider-trading scheme linked to computer company IBM's $US1.2 billion purchase of SPSS, a software company.
He allegedly made a profit of $US7900 ($7520) from insider trading.
He faces charges of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud, the US Attorney's Office in New York said, and could spend up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years on the securities fraud charge if convicted.
Officials from the Australian consulate-general were providing Mr Martin consular assistance, a DFAT spokeswoman said.
Mr Martin also faces a US Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit over the alleged scheme.
Mr Wombolt, a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong, could not be reached for comment before today's hearing.
Prosecutors and the SEC did not identify where Mr Martin worked when the alleged crimes occurred in 2009. According to the SEC's complaint, Mr Martin left a New York brokerage in September 2009 to join a "related" firm in Stamford, Connecticut, where he remained until November 2010.
It is believed Mr Martin is on "administrative leave" from his employer, Nomura International. He joined Nomura in September 2011, and previously worked at Royal Bank of Scotland in New York and Sydney from 2009 to 2011.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority lists a Trent Martin who left ABN Amro in 2009 to work at the Stamford office of RBS, which participated in ABN Amro's takeover in 2007. Martin's broker registration at RBS ended in November 2010, Finra documents show.
Ed Canaday, a spokesman for Edinburgh-based RBS, declined to comment on the Martin case. Felicity Albert, a spokeswoman for Tokyo-based Nomura, also declined to comment on Mr Martin.
Mr Martin learned confidential information from a corporate lawyer from New Zealand, not identified in court papers, who was working on the IBM deal and with whom he was close friends, according to prosecutors.
Mr Martin bought SPSS stock based on the information in June 2009 and shared the tip with his Manhattan room-mate, Thomas Conradt, who worked as a stockbroker, according to the government. Mr Conradt in turn tipped off his co-worker and friend David Weishaus, who passed the information to two other unidentified brokers they worked with, prosecutors said.
When the companies issued a press release on July 27, 2009, on IBM's plan to buy SPSS for about $US1.2 billion, or almost $US50 a share, SPSS's stock price rose 41 per cent in one day. Mr Martin and the brokers earned about $US1.2 million in illicit profits from trades based on the information about the deal, prosecutors said. IBM, based in Armonk, New York, is the largest computer-services provider.
Mr Conradt and Mr Weishaus were indicted on charges related to the alleged scheme on November 29. They have pleaded not guilty.
Bloomberg with Glenda Kwek