The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has fined a former IT technician at The Body Shop for market abuse.
John Shevlin was fined £85,000 after the FSA discovered he gained inside market knowledge on his employer by snooping on confidential emails between executives. The emails contained details of The Body Shop's trading results for the Christmas period, and a draft announcement that the beauty chain had underperformed, according to the FSA.
The FSA said Shevlin borrowed £29,000, which was more than his annual salary, to effect the trade that the share price of the ethical beauty retail chain would fall. Shevlin sold 80,000 shares in The Body Shop he did not own in the hope of buying them back more cheaply at a later date, which is a form of a controversial City trading practice known as short-selling.
Margaret Cole, director of enforcement at the FSA, said: "Mr Shevlin deliberately set out to obtain highly sensitive and valuable information to which he was not entitled.
"He abused the trust placed in him by his employers and misused his technical skills to gain a financial advantage over other market users."
Shevlin no longer works for The Body Shop.
In a statement the Body Shop said the FSA "found no wrongdoing or security failures" on its part.
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