Insider trader Lukas Kamay bought a $2.3 million apartment from The Block television program in April this year in a bid to lift himself out of depression.
The 26-year-old former NAB employee was the Victorian Supreme Court facing up to ten years jail over a conspiracy with an Australian Bureau of Statistics employee to trade on statistics not yet made public.
They used unreleased ABS economics data, including labour force and retail sales numbers, to bet on the foreign exchange market before the data was released to the market.
Kamay, 26, offered his ABS conspirator Christopher Hill $20,000 to pass on the inside information while Kamay pocketed $7 million in trades.
Counsel for Kamay, defence barrister Peter Morrissey, SC, said there was “a focus on winning” at the NAB and previously at other employers Goldman Sachs and JBWere.
“The culture is one reminiscent of Hollywood movies where morality is secondary to success,” he said, detailing a practice of ringing a bell for trades over $10,000 and ringing it three times for trades over $30,000.
Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Robert Bromwich, SC, told the Victorian Supreme Court pre-sentence hearing on Wednesday that Kamay had used the purchase of the Block apartment in the leafy Melbourne suburb Albert Park as a “cloak of respectability” to hide his crimes.
He told the court: “I felt as if buying something which people perceived as important would help me get out of that hole.”
Kamay and Hill have pleaded guilty. They were arrested after a joint ASIC and Australian Federal Police operation.