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Two-timing insider dealer is sent to prison for two years

THE banking industry has not been short of examples of unscrupulous behaviour in recent years. But Thomas Ammann, the two-timing insider dealer jailed yesterday, is up there with the best of them.

The Mizuho banker persuaded his two girlfriends, blissfully unaware of each other's existence, to invest fortunes in a firm he knew was about to be bought, also exposing them to the risk of prosecution for insider trading.

Ammann urged Christina Weckwerth, 44, and Dr Jessica Mang, 30, to buy shares in Dutch photocopy company Oce, which he knew was about to be taken over by Canon, in return for a 50 per cent share of the profits.

Ms Weckwerth, a wealthy divorcee, made a £900,000 profit and Dr Mang scraped together savings and borrowed on credit cards to make a £26,000 return on a £39,000 investment.

Ms Weckwerth and Dr Mang were cleared of one count of insider dealing after a jury found they did not know they were trading illegally.

True to form, the banker was finally arrested in November 2010 in bed with a Japanese woman, and has since fathered a child with a woman who has returned to China.

Sentencing Ammann to two years and eight months, Judge Anthony Leonard said the jail term had to reflect the blow to public confidence in a City held in "increasingly low esteem" due to the activities of a "few unscrupulous and dishonest persons".

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the Financial Services Authority, said the behaviour "damages the reputation and standing of the financial services industry as a whole".

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