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by RAY FLEMING

INSIDER dealing is sometimes called a “victimless crime” but recent developments in the City of London show that Britain's Financial Services Authority and Serious Organised Crime Agency do not subscribe to that view.

Tuesday's dawn raids on sixteen homes and businesses across London, Oxfordshire and Kent were carried out by 143 staff of the FSA and SOCA. Some of those questioned came from Moore Capital, one of the world's biggest hedge funds. The company later said that it was “co-operating fully with the FSA in its investigation.” No arrests were made but the word in the City was that FSA and SOCA have been investigating “a sophisticated and long-running insider dealing ring” for some time.

The FSA has secured five insider dealing convictions in the past fifteen months; the most recent was of Malcom Calvert, a former partner at Cazenove, the Queen's broker, who was given a 21-month sentence which he is appealing against. For at least a decade after its establishment in 1998 the FSA was often accused of being “asleep at the wheel”; its recent activism seems to stem from its ability to call on the services of SOCA which was formed in 2006 and operates across a wide range of criminal activity from large-scale financial fraud to drugs and human trafficking. Although the result of Tuesday's raids is not yet known the fact that insider dealing is now being taken seriously will be widely welcomed.