Former Managing Director Steven Robert Noske has been sentenced today to 18 months’ imprisonment and fined $20,000 after being found guilty of insider trading by a West Australian Supreme Court jury.
The Court ordered that Mr Noske be released after serving nine months’ of his sentence on a recognisance of $10,000, subject to good behaviour for the balance of the term. As a result of this conviction, Mr Noske is also automatically disqualified from managing corporations for five years.
Mr Noske purchased shares in the target company while he was being consulted by the Managing Director of LNG Limited on some aspects of that company’s proposed takeover of fellow ASX-listed WestSide Corporation. The price of WestSide Corporation Limited shares increased by nearly 60% following the announcement of the proposed takeover.
Mr Noske’s trading resulted in an actual profit of $51,246.34. Mr Noske’s profit would have been significantly higher had he sold his entire holding shortly after the announcement.
In delivering his sentence, Justice Hall said that Mr Noske had abused his position of trust and confidence.
ASIC began an investigation into Mr Noske’s share trading in 2012, following a referral from ASIC’s market surveillance team, and charged him with insider trading in 2015.
ASIC Commissioner John Price welcomed the sentence, saying:
The custodial sentence handed down in this matter is a confirmation of the seriousness with which insider trading is viewed by the Courts, and in particular is a reminder of the significant obligations on those with access to market-sensitive information in the course of their work.
ASIC’s surveillance of the market, aided by sophisticated analysis and improved technology, means that anyone who attempts to profit from insider information runs a very real risk of being convicted and jailed.
Since 2009, ASIC has brought 41 insider trading actions before the Courts and achieved either a conviction, guilty plea or guilty finding before a jury in 33 of these matters. Two matters are still before the Court. The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.