Ex-NAB traders to stand trial

The two traders were last week committed to stand trial in the County Court in Melbourne in relation to charges made against them of dishonestly using their positions as employees and obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

The hearing, held at the Melbourne Magistrates Court on September 30, follows an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Asic) into allegations of unauthorised trading in forex and forex options by Ficarra, Gray, ex-forex options head Luke Duffy and ex-chief forex options dealer David Bullen.

Duffy was sentenced to 29 months' imprisonment for his part in the trading scandal in June. He is to serve a minimum of 16 months after the County Court of Victoria found him guilty of three offences relating to dishonestly carrying out spot forex trades to gain advantage for himself and others. Bullen is due to appear at the Country Court, Victoria, on October 24 for a court hearing.

Asic claimed that Ficarra and Gray entered false information into NAB's accounting systems in order to falsely inflate the profit results and hide losses of the FX options desk between September 2003 and January 2004. The financial watchdog also alleged that the two obtained a financial advantage by deception, namely a performance bonus for the 2003/2004 financial year as the bonuses were partly based upon the falsified profits. In 2003, Ficarra and Gray received bonuses of A$120,000 and A$190,000 respectively.

Ficarra is facing 12 charges of dishonestly using his position as an employee of NAB and one charge of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Gray was committed for trial on six charges of dishonestly using his position as an employee of NAB and one charge of obtaining a financial advantage by deception. Both reserved their pleas in relation to all charges.

Ficarra and Gray were granted bail and are due to appear at a Case Conference on October 24, 2005.

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