Ex-UBS Officer On Trial Over Leaks Was Supposed To Stop Them

A former UBS Group AG compliance officer, on trial for insider trading, led a project designed to stop leaks, her boss told a London jury.

Fabiana Abdel-Malek, 36, was in charge of a project limiting what access bank-support staff had to information that could affect a company’s share price or was confidential, her one-time manager, Sai Jawanmardi, said Monday. Abdel-Malek’s knowledge of bank transactions, confidentiality and price-sensitive information was “very strong,” she said.

Jawanmardi is the Financial Conduct Authority’s first witness who knew Abdel-Malek at the time she allegedly leaked confidential information about deals to Walid Choucair, a friend who was a day trader. The two were charged with insider trading between June 2013 and June 2014, in connection with five deals UBS worked on.

Abdel-Malek joined UBS’s compliance team as a graduate in 2007 and rose several ranks, before she was arrested in September 2015. Her job was to provide regulatory and reputational advice to bankers involved in financing and lending transactions, according to Jawanmardi, who managed six compliance officers.

For a while Abdel-Malek was the regional point person for UBS’s Global Family Office, which handles high net worth individuals, Jawanmardi said. That changed after UBS made about 600 people redundant in late 2012 and compliance had to figure out how to fit in with a restructured business, she said. Abdel-Malek had to learn to about the bank’s capital markets and deals advisory functions in her new role, she said.

Abdel-Malek applied for jobs at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, her attorney Sean Larkin told the court. That was primarily because she could earn more than the 90,000 pounds ($117,200) base pay and 7,000-pound discretionary bonus she made at UBS in 2014, Jawanmardi said.

Though it was “extremely fundamental” to UBS policy that information about deals was provided on a need-to-know basis, those restrictions didn’t apply to Abdel-Malek because of her role in compliance, Jawanmardi said.

The prosecution claims Abdel-Malek accessed UBS’s internal compliance database and used pay-as-you-go SIM cards to leak information on deals she was not involved in. The pair deny the charges, saying that while they knew each other, Choucair got his trading tips from other contacts.

Author: Franz Wild

Source: Bloomberg

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