Lawyer acquitted of insider trading of Sime Darby shares without defence called

Lawyer acquitted of insider trading of Sime Darby shares without defence called
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 11): The Sessions Court here today acquitted lawyer Datuk Sreesanthan Eliathamby on three counts of purported insider trading of Sime Darby Bhd shares in 2006.

The lawyer was acquitted without even being ordered to enter his defence. Sessions Court judge Zamri Bakar ruled that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.

Sreesanthan is the former senior partner of a law firm involved in advising the merger exercise between Sime Darby, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd.

The judge agreed with the defence that the purported information was in public domain from several reputable journals and commentaries published on Sime Darby's proposed merger with Kumpulan Guthrie and Golden Hope.

Sreesanthan was charged in 2012 for allegedly buying Sime Darby shares whilst in possession of inside information of the proposed acquisition of several companies (including Sime Darby) by a special purpose vehicle called Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd.

Sreesanthan was represented by Datuk Dr Gurdial Singh Nijar, Datuk Jerald Gomez, Michelle Wong and Joshua Andran while Deputy Public Prosecutor Hashley Tajudin and prosecuting officers Munira Masood, Nurul Rafeeza appeared for the Securities Commission Malaysia.

Gurdial and Joshua confirmed the decision today with The Edge.

Kathy Fong