Legal Cheek

Husband of ex-Linklaters associate admits using confidential info from M&A deal his wife was working on to make £75,000 stock market profit

He says his wife had no idea

The husband of a now ex-Linklaters lawyer has pleaded guilty to insider trading after he allegedly used confidential information from a big money M&A deal to make thousands of dollars on the stock exchange.

According to Reuters, Fei Yan — a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology — is accused of using insider information concerning Linklaters’ client Sibanye Gold and its planned $2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) acquisition of Stillwater Mining. Interestingly Yan’s wife, Menglu Wang, was involved in the acquisition deal, as she was an associate in the firm’s New York office. She was swiftly suspended following her husband’s arrest and has since left the firm.

Arrested in July, Yan was accused by United States’ prosecutors of purchasing stock options in Stillwater in 2016, before offloading them on the day the deal was announced. The report claims that the researcher made a profit of more than $100,000 (£75,000). Wang has not faced any charges.

Yan pleaded guilty to charges that he engaged in insider trading before a Boston court on Monday. He maintains that his lawyer spouse was not aware of what he was up to. In a statement he said:

“My wife, Menglu Wang, had no knowledge that I misappropriated or traded on the basis of this information. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I am deeply sorry, especially to my wife.”

Harvard Law School grad Wang joined Linklaters in 2015 as an associate in the outfit’s corporate, mergers and acquisitions group, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her lawyer, Wayne Gosnell of Clayman & Rosenberg LLP, said:

“[The] proceedings demonstrate what Menglu has said all along — that she is completely innocent. She looks forward to moving on from this and returning to her legal career.”

Linklaters declined to comment.