Mark Warminger drops appeal of market manipulation judgment
By Rebecca Howard
July 31 (BusinessDesk) - Former Milford Asset Management portfolio manager Mark Warminger has withdrawn his appeal against a High Court judgment in the country's first case of market manipulation, and the Financial Markets Authority won't pursue a cross-appeal.
"The judgment from March 2017 and penalty decision from June 2017 stand and this brings these civil proceedings to a close," the FMA said in a statement.
In March, Chief High Court Judge Geoffrey Venning found Warminger manipulated the market in two trades while rejecting eight other instances brought before the court by the FMA. The hearing was a civil case, meaning the judge had to decide on the balance of probabilities. Warminger was then ordered to pay $400,000.
As a result of the pecuniary penalty order, Warminger automatically received a five-year management ban. Had Warminger been prosecuted, the criminal penalty for his actions would have been a maximum fine of $300,000, or five years imprisonment for each contravention.
"This result demonstrates there are serious consequences for this type of misconduct. Market participants and the public want to know that the law is being upheld, and where there are instances of market manipulation and misconduct, those responsible will be held to account. We are satisfied that our regulatory objectives have been achieved in taking these proceedings," said Rob Everett, FMA chief executive.
Warminger’s employer at the time, Milford Asset Management, settled with the FMA before the trial. It paid $1.1 million in lieu of a pecuniary penalty, along with $400,000 in costs.