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Sydney IT consultant charged with insider trading and unauthorised access to data

15 May 2018

Sydney IT Consultant Steven Oakes has been charged with 115 offences for unauthorised access to data held in a computer, insider trading, and destroying or concealing books required by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

According to the ASIC, between January 2012 and February 2016, Oakes gained unauthorised access to inside information held on the private computer network of a Melbourne-based financial publisher.

The information accessed comprised of recommendations to buy particular shares that were about to be published in stock recommendations reports.

ASIC alleges that Oakes then used this information on 70 occasions to buy shares in 52 different ASX-listed companies before the ‘Buy’ recommendations for the shares in those companies were published.

ASIC says Oakes made profits from selling the shares a short time later, following the reports’ publication.

ASIC also alleges that in March 2016, Oakes concealed, destroyed, mutilated or altered ‘books’ in the form of electronic devices that were required to be produced to ASIC in connection with the investigation.

Specifically, Oakes’ charges comprised:

  • 43 serious computer offences under s477.1(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth) for unauthorised access to data held in a computer with the intention to commit a serious offence, namely insider trading;
  • 70 insider trading offences under s1043A (1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth); and
  • 2 offences under s67(1) of the Australian Securities and Commission Act 2001 (Cth) for conduct that resulted in the concealment, destruction, mutilation or alteration of books required by ASIC.

Oakes doesn’t have to enter a plea and the matter was adjourned to 25 June 2018 for committal mention.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is prosecuting the matter.

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