KUALA LUMPUR: The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court has acquitted senior corporate lawyer Datuk Sreesanthan Eliathamby and discharged him of four counts of alleged insider trading of Sime Darby Bhd shares in 2006.
The Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Securities Commission (SC) also dropped an appeal in the Kuala Lumpur High Court against Sreesanthan’s acquittal by the Sessions Court in January 2021 on three other purported insider trading charges.
Following the acquittal yesterday, Sreesanthan said he was relieved that the whole thing was finally over.
“I am relieved at the outcome. It will take me a bit of time to come back to full practice,” he said when contacted by StarBiz.
Sreesanthan, who is still practising law, said he had not been doing so actively since legal proceedings started against him nine years earlier.Sreesanthan was charged in 2012 with seven counts of insider trading in the shares of four different companies, namely Sime Darby Bhd, Maxis Communications Bhd, UEM World Bhd and VADS Bhd. Sreesanthan is a former senior partner with the law firm involved in advising the proposed merger exercise between Sime Darby, Golden Hope Plantations Bhd and Kumpulan Guthrie Bhd.
He was charged for allegedly buying Sime Darby shares, while in possession of inside information of the proposed acquisition exercise.He allegedly acquired 75,000 Sime Darby shares between Oct 9, 2006 and Nov 14, 2006 at Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd, Bukit Kewangan in Kuala Lumpur.
He was charged under Section 89E(2)(a) of the Securities Industry Act 1983 (Act 280), which is punishable under Section 89E(4) of the same Act.
However, on Jan 11, 2021, Sessions Court judge Zamri Bakar would acquit Sreesanthan of three counts of insider dealing, after ruling that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused.
The judge held that, amongst others, the purported inside information was in the public domain from several reputable journals and commentaries that were published on Sime Darby’s proposed merger with Kumpulan Guthrie and Golden Hope.On Jan 22, 2021, the AGC and SC filed an appeal to the Kuala Lumpur High Court over the Sessions Court’s decision.