In 2014, the European Union (EU) adopted legislation (Criminal Sanctions for Market Abuse Directive) that harmonises criminal sanctions for insider dealing. All EU Member States agreed to introduce maximum prison sentences of at least four years for serious cases of market manipulation and insider dealing, and at least two years for improper disclosure of insider information.
The longest prison sentence in a Norwegian trial where the main charge was insider trading, was for 8 years (2 of which suspended) when Alain Angelil was convicted in a district court on December 9, 2011.
Although insider trading in the UK has been illegal since 1980, it proved difficult to successfully prosecute individuals accused of insider trading. There were a number of notorious cases where individuals were able to escape prosecution. Instead the UK regulators relied on a series of fines to punish market abuses.
These fines were widely perceived as an ineffective deterrent (Cole, 2007), and there was a statement of intent by the UK regulator (the Financial Services Authority) to use its powers to enforce the legislation (specifically theFinancial Services and Markets Act 2000). Between 2009–2012 the FSA secured 14 convictions in relation to insider dealing.