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Six held in probe on insider dealing

Three major financial institutions were today embroiled in the UK's biggest probe into insider dealing.

Three leading financiers were among six men arrested in dawn raids yesterday on suspicion of running an insider dealing ring.

Some of Europe's leading financial institutions including Deutsche Bank, US hedge fund Moore Capital and French bank BNP Paribas were among those with staff who have been implicated in the probe.

The suspects were held as officials searched 16 homes and businesses in London, the South East and in the Oxfordshire areas.

The Financial Services Authority, which led the operation, said it was the largest of its kind to have targeted suspected insider traders. More than 140 of its investigators were supported by the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

An FSA spokesman said the six men included two senior City professionals at well-known institutions in addition to one hedge fund financier.

They were arrested on suspicion of being involved in a sophisticated and long-running insider dealing ring.

It is believed City workers passed inside information to traders, both directly and via middlemen, who used the sensitive data to cash in.

Suspicions were first raised in late 2007 over a series of transactions involving the six men.

Investigators were questioning the suspects and examining seized computers, mobile phones and documents.

The move was the latest chapter in a crackdown on insider trading by the City regulator.

They were the fifth set of arrests to take place since 2008 and the watchdog has secured five jail terms for financiers convicted of insider trading.

Three further cases are currently working their way through the criminal justice system.

Last month the FSA fined Mehmet Sepil, chief executive of Turkish oil firm Genel Energi, £967,005 for dealing in Heritage Oil shares using inside information.

The London office of hedge fund Moore Capital was searched by FSA and Soca officials.

It is also understood that inquiries were made into a single employee at Deutsche Bank. A bank spokesman said: “We are co-operating with the authorities as they look into this matter.”