British Gas executive jailed over illegal trades

A FORMER senior executive of British Gas - one of the world's biggest energy companies - has been convicted of two counts of insider trading in the NSW Supreme Court.

A FORMER senior executive of British Gas - one of the world's biggest energy companies - has been convicted of two counts of insider trading in the NSW Supreme Court.

Stuart Alfred Fysh, a former executive vice-president at British Gas (now known as BG Group Plc) was sentenced on Wednesday to two terms of imprisonment, one of two years and the other of 18 months, to be served separately.

The conviction of Fysh, who earned more than $1.3 million a year before his employment with BG came to an end, related to his purchase of Queensland Gas Company (QGC) shares in December 2007.

The illegal trades earned him a net profit of $626,703.

Justice Lucy McCallum directed that Fysh be released on December 10 next year if he behaved well while in prison for a year.

In sentencing Fysh, Justice McCallum said he had co-operated with authorities in an "exceptional" way, demonstrating a "strong willingness to facilitate the course of justice".

However, the judge said she remained "equivocal ... as to whether the offender's contrition extends to a real acceptance of the proposition that he has committed two serious criminal offences".

"In all the circumstances of this case, I am satisfied that no other sentence than imprisonment will adequately reflect the seriousness of the offences," she told the NSW Supreme Court.

For the offence of acquiring 240,000 shares in QGC on December 2, 2007, while in possession of inside information, Fysh was sentenced to two years in prison, to be released on December 10 next year pending good behaviour.

For the offence of acquiring 10,000 shares in QGC on December 3, 2007, while in possession of inside information, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, to be released on December 10 next year pending good behaviour.

The original charges - brought by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission - were in relation to Fysh's acquisition of shares in two companies: Arrow Energy in mid-2007, and QGC in December 2007.

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