Sunday, 26 November 2017

Insider trading, why the differences in punishment?

From the SC website:

Ex-CEO of APL Industries Bhd and Ex-Remisier Fined and Jailed Five Years for Insider Trading

The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today convicted former CEO of APL Industries Bhd (APLI), Stanley Thai Kim Sim, and former remisier Tiong Kiong Choon for insider trading offences. Thai was sentenced to a five-year jail term and a RM5 million fine, while Tiong was sentenced to five years jail and a RM10 million fine.

Insider trading offences, under section 188 of the Capital Markets and Services Act 2007 (CMSA), carry a mandatory punishment of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years and a fine of not less than RM1 million.

Thai was convicted for communicating non-public information between 26 October 2007 and 29 October 2007 to Tiong. Tiong was convicted for two counts of disposing a total of 6,208,500 APLI shares while in possession of the same non-public information via accounts belonging to his mother-in-law and his mother. At the time of the commission of the offence, Tiong was also a licensed intra-day trader with a stock broking company.

The non-public information communicated from Thai to Tiong related to the audit adjustments proposed by APLI’s auditors which resulted in APLI reporting a higher loss for the financial year ended 30 June 2007, as compared to the previously reported unaudited Q4 results for the same financial year, and that APLI would be classified as a PN 17 company. APLI made announcements to Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd about the audit adjustments and its classification as a PN 17 company on 31 October 2007.

In passing the sentence, Sessions Court judge Tuan Zulqarnain Hassan ruled that a deterrent sentence was warranted as insider trading offences were deemed more serious than conventional crimes, given far reaching effects on investors’ confidence and the public as a whole. “Insider trading is a modern white-collar economic crime. It is serious and is in a category or class of its own,” said the learned judge.

The conviction came after a full trial where 14 witnesses testified for the Prosecution while four witnesses testified for the defence.

This blog has always been in favour of enforcement, which has been so much lacking in Malaysia, especially in white-collar crime. However, punishment has to be consistent.

Many cases of insider trading have been settled for three times the profit without admitting guilt.

This bags the question: which factors played a role in the above case compared to other cases that explain the huge difference in punishment?

On another matter, the events happened ten years ago, can the legal process please be done faster?

Insider trading is a serious crime with real victims, the investors who were not privy to the inside information. Those victims should be able to come forward and claim what is due to them. But who can remember what happened such a long time ago? Most people will have discarded their trading statements after some years.


  1. Insider trading is a serious offnce. But the stark difference compared with other insider trading cases was they made significant monetary gains/ prevent monetary losses while on the surface, Stanley Tai was just a tipper. Why is the punishment so harsh compared with others?

  2. What were the profits made on the trade?