THE Sydney socialite Oliver Peter Curtis was charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit insider trading, two years after his former best friend John Hartman pleaded guilty to insider trading offences that led to a prison sentence.
The charges relate to an alleged agreement between the two where Mr Curtis allegedly traded on the basis of inside information Hartman possessed about the trading intentions of his employer, Orion Asset Management.
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, in return for providing the insider information, it is alleged Mr Curtis provided Hartman with a share of the profits in the form of cash and ”by using the funds to purchase items for Mr Hartman”.
Mr Curtis is the son of the Sydney businessman Nick Curtis, a founder of Sino Resources and the executive chairman of the rare earths miner Lynas Corp.
Mr Curtis works with his father at a corporate advisory firm, Riverstone Advisory.
Hartman, the son of the prominent Sydney obstetrician Keith Hartman, was sentenced to three years’ jail after pleading guilty to related, and unrelated, insider trading offences in April 2010.
Hartman, who had previously enjoyed luxury cars and gambling trips to Las Vegas, was sent to jail in a form of protective custody for volunteering to give evidence against Mr Curtis.
ASIC alleges that Mr Curtis traded on 45 separate occasions between May 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008, making a total profit of $1 million.
According to a release from ASIC on Tuesday, Mr Curtis was granted bail ”on a number of conditions” and the matter will return to court on March 26.
The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years’ jail.
In sentencing Hartman, Justice Peter McClellan wrote plainly about Mr Curtis’s involvement in receiving inside information, then trading in a financial product called contracts for difference.
”[Hartman] communicated this inside information for the purpose of Mr Curtis using the information to acquire and thereafter dispose of … CFDs [contracts for difference],” Justice McClellan wrote.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.