In the Media

Two-timed lovers can keep money after being cleared of insider dealing

PUBLISHED November 15, 2012

Thomas Ammann, 39, is facing jail after he admitted passing illegal information on a takeover deal to his lovers Christina Weckwerth, 44, a wealthy divorcee, and Jessica Mang, 30, a chiropractor.

However, the two women, who did not realise the City banker was cheating on them until they were arrested by fraud investigators, insisted they had no idea that Ammann was giving them inside knowledge.

The illegal trading on tips about the takeover of Océ, a Dutch printing and copying group, by Canon, the Japanese electronics giant, allowed the pair to double their money in a £2 million scam, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Miss Weckwerth, who invested more than half of her divorce settlement, made about £1.2 million, while Miss Mang, who used credit cards and borrowed money from her family to buy the shares, made nearly £30,000.

The prosecution said that they agreed to give half of the profits to Ammann, who at the time was working for the London branch of the Japanese Mizuho International investment bank.

After a month-long trial, a jury today accepted that the women did not realise they were trading on illegal information and cleared them of insider dealing.

Miss Weckwerth, a mother from Frankfurt with joint British and Cypriot citizenship, handed over one million euros (£806,000) to the court, which could have been seized if she had been convicted. Prosecutors were given 24 hours to raise any objections to the money being returned to her but this is considered unlikely.

Miss Mang, of Charing Cross, central London, never paid any of the money she made into the court and cannot now be subject to confiscation proceedings.

The court heard that Ammann, originally from Germany, met Miss Weckwerth through a dating website in 2008 and was still involved in a relationship with her when he began dating Miss Mang a year later.

In 2009 he started working on the multi-million pound takeover of Océ by Canon. Armed with insider information, he approached his girlfriends to ask them to invest on his behalf.

Miss Mang said Ammann threatened to leave her unless she bought shares in the Dutch company. She made £29,000 in five days but wrote in her diary that "money didn't excite me", adding: "I just want to be in love".

Miss Weckworth said she invested in Océ only after researching her lover's recommendation and calculating that the shares were undervalued.

The former love rivals, who did not know of each other's existence before the scam was exposed, smiled at each other as they were found not guilty today and allowed to walk free from the court.

Ammann earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of insider dealing and two counts of encouraging insider dealing, and will be sentenced at a later date.

Tracey McDermott, director of enforcement and financial crime at the Financial Services Authority, which brought the prosecution, said: "As an approved person Ammann knew he could not deal using the inside information he had without arousing suspicion but he thought that by getting his girlfriends to trade instead they could avoid being caught. He was wrong, and he now faces the consequences."