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FSA fishes for plankton in tank full of sharks

The UK's Financial Services Authority has concluded its first insider dealing case in almost two years. The culprit? A Body Shop IT technician who snooped on private e-mails to make a £38,000 profit by shorting shares in the retailer ahead of a results announcement.

Excuse me if I'm feeling a little underwhelmed.

It's a bit like the caped crusader beating up on a shoplifter while a team of super-villains lays waste to the bank next door.

As one former broker notes: "For all the stock exchange is presented as a transparent, trustworthy great British institution, the truth is that everywhere corruption drips like honey.

"While insider trading - dealing stocks with the benefit of knowledge not available to the public - is strictly illegal, it is also so rife among City firms as to have become all but institutionalised."

We'll reserve judgement on the FSA's success in tackling this particular crime wave until some sharp-suited City types are hauled before the beak.


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