September 3, 2019 / 4:14 PM / 3 months ago

British fugitive sentenced for money laundering in Tabernula case

LONDON, Sept 3 (Reuters) - A fugitive businessman convicted of money laundering in one of Britain’s longest and most complex insider dealing investigations was on Tuesday sentenced in his absence to five years and eight months in prison by a London judge.

Richard Baldwin, who jumped bail during his trial in 2017, was convicted of using Panamanian companies, offshore bank accounts and false invoices and breaching an asset restraint order in an investigation codenamed Operation Tabernula.

In a press release with a picture of the 52-year-old - who dealt in luxury watches from offices in west London with convicted accountant Andrew Hind - the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) appealed for his whereabouts. An arrest warrant has been issued.

“Money-launderers compound the harm caused by crime by helping to cover up the offence and making it more difficult for victims to get the redress they deserve,” said Mark Steward, the FCA’s head of enforcement and market oversight.

“...we will continue to pursue him to ensure he fully accounts for his wrongdoing and serves his sentence.”

The FCA launched Operation Tabernula after two day traders drew the attention of authorities in 2007 with what the markets regulator called at the time “no holds barred, high-risk trading” in Scottish & Newcastle shares.

Three years later, police raids and arrests linked to the investigation sent shockwaves through the City of London.

Six people have been convicted in the case, including Hind and former Deutsche Bank managing director Martyn Dodgson. The FCA alleged that Baldwin received and laundered the proceeds of Hind and Dodgson’s insider trading.

The two traders who first caught the FCA’s attention were acquitted, along with a former Panmure Gordon trader.

Reporting by Kirstin Ridley; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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