Former City trader claims he used journalists to beat stock market - report

© Andrew Winning
A British trader accused of UK’s biggest insider trading scam claims he spoke to Financial Times and Daily Mail journalists to discover what they were writing about, Bloomberg reported. Iraj Parvizi said that helped push up his stock prices.

Iraj Parvizi, the 50-year old former Aria Capital director was known in gambling circles as the ‘Mad Punter’. He is one of five defendants in Britain’s biggest insider trading case which has been going on since the beginning of the year. Parvazi told the jury his most successful deals were made following conversations with sources at British newspapers. He explained that he was trying to figure out what the reporters were working on.

“The way it works is, I need information, they need information,” said Parvizi. “If I bought today and the Mail writes something tomorrow, the share price goes up two percent to five percent.”

When asked whether he deliberately spread misleading rumors, the trader replied “Definitely, yes. I was there to help myself.”

Financial Times spokeswoman Kristina Eriksson has denied the accusations, saying“Our journalists do not offer ‘tips’ to sources or market participants.”  She added that such activity would be illegal.

Spokesman for the Daily Mail Oliver Lloyd said it would be inappropriate for the newspaper to comment during the trial.

A former worker in a kebab shop Iraj Parvizi became one of the biggest names in the stock market. The trader says the value of his assets reached £50-70 million in 2000.

"I was the king of penny stocks," said Parvizi who was buying diamonds, racehorses and property in Dubai with his profits.

Iraj Parvizi along with four other defendants, ‎is accused by the UK Financial Conduct Authority of conspiring to trade securities with inside information between 2006 and 2010.  The defendants are: former managing director at Deutsche Bank Martyn Dodgson, accountant Andrew Hind, former managing director at Altium Capital Andrew Grant Harrison, and day trader Benjamin Anderson. They are said to have netted £3 million.

READ MORE: ​Ex-hedge funder Julian Rifat sentenced to 19 months in insider trading scandal

The case is the largest and most complicated insider-trading trial ever held in the UK. It has been called Operation Tabernula which is Latin for "little tavern" after the investigation’s code name.

All the defendants deny the charge of insider trading which carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. The trial continues.