After nine years, senior lawyer acquitted and discharged of insider trading involving Sime Darby shares

An appeal against a previous acquittal, and four more charges of alleged insider trading against lawyer Datuk Sreesanthan Eliathamby yet to go to trial were all dropped at the various Sessions and High Courts today. — Reuters pic
An appeal against a previous acquittal, and four more charges of alleged insider trading against lawyer Datuk Sreesanthan Eliathamby yet to go to trial were all dropped at the various Sessions and High Courts today. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — An appeal against a previous acquittal, and four more charges of alleged insider trading against lawyer Datuk Sreesanthan Eliathamby yet to go to trial were all dropped at the various Sessions and High Courts here today.

Sreesanthan expressed his relief when he confirmed the matter with Malay Mail, following reports of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and Security Commission’s (SC) decision to abandon their pursuit against the lawyer.

“Of course I am relieved, and now I guess I can go back to focusing on my legal practice,” he said.

Back in 2012, Sreesanthan was slapped with seven charges under Section 89E(2)(a) of the Securities Industry Act 1983 (Act 280) for his supposed acquisition of the Sime Darby shares which allegedly took place in 2006.

He was accused of acquiring the shares while in possession of insider information of a proposed takeover of several companies, that included Sime Darby, by a special purpose vehicle called Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd.

Following a trial at the Sessions Court for three of those charges, Sreesanthan was acquitted and discharged at the end of the prosecution stage in January this year after Sessions Court judge Zamri Bakar ruled the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.

Reports had also noted how Zamri agreed with submissions by the defence that information the prosecution claimed as insider information was actually available in the public domain and published by several reputable journals and commentaries.

Sreesanthan is said to have acquired the 75,000 Sime Darby shares between October 9 to November 14, 2006 at Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd, Bukit Kewangan, Kuala Lumpur.

Following Zamri’s ruling, the AGC and SC then appealed the acquittal at the High Court the very next day.

The four remaining charges against Sreesanthan involved the same business deal and were read in three different Sessions Courts, all of which were dropped today by the prosecution before the commencement of a trial.

“I had to appear before each of the Sessions Courts today, so when the SC withdrew the remaining charges, the court could then acquit and discharge me,” he said, adding how the AGC and SC’s appeal at the High Court was also withdrawn today.

Sreesanthan today said he does not hold a grudge towards the prosecution or the SC, but stressed how his position has been the same since day one and felt relieved it was affirmed by a judge.

“You have to look at what exactly the Sessions Court said when I was acquitted, concerning the information being in the public domain, so based on that they then acquitted me.

“This is what I have been maintaining all along, and now you have an independent forum that has said the same thing, so obviously the AGC and SC have seen that there is no intention to engage in insider trading,” he told Malay Mail.

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