Director jailed for insider dealing

A WASTE disposal firm boss from Keighley wept in the dock yesterday as he was jailed for 27 months for insider trading.

Neil Rollins, 46, avoided personal losses of 60,000 by selling his stocks in the PM Group plc – where he was a director – just before their price collapsed.

Ten days after he disposed of the final part of his stake in September 2006, the value of the company's shares plummeted by almost half.

He also encouraged his wife to sell her shares in the firm, and later attempted to hide 120,000 from financial investigators by transferring it into his father's bank account.

Rollins appeared in the dock for sentence at Southwark Crown Court yesterday after a jury found him guilty of insider dealing and money laundering following a two week trial.

Judge James Wadsworth, QC, handed him 21 months for the insider dealing, with an additional six months for the laundering charge.

He also ordered the father-of-two to pay back 197,000 made on the sale of the shares within six months or face a further 18 months in prison.

As the judge passed sentence, Rollins, of Flappit Springs, Keighley, wiped away tears.

Jurors had heard Rollins breached insider dealing laws and ignored strict instructions from his bosses when he sold his shares in August and September, 2006. At the time he was the manufacturing director at PM Onboard Ltd, the PM Group's waste disposal wing.

Prosecutor Tony Shaw, QC, said memos had been sent to key staff including Rollins banning them from trading their shares in the firm at a certain time but he ignored the ban. Between August 22 and 13 September that year, after the company had issued its embargo on employees, Rollins dumped 73,959 shares.

Rollins, denied five counts of insider dealing and four counts of transferring criminal property between August 22 and November 28, 2006.

In evidence, Rollins insisted he was not guilty of insider trading because he had been planning to sell his shareholding since March 2006, before the closed period, but had been persuaded not to by a senior colleague. He accepted he was in possession of inside information but said this did not influence his decision.