Morrisons tax chief held over insider trading allegations

MORRISONS’ HEAD OF TAX has been arrested after allegedly purchasing shares in surpermarket delivery service Ocado prior to the announcement of a £216m deal for the online grocer to deliver its food, it has emerged.

Paul Coyle, who also acted as the supermarket’s group treasurer, was held before Christmas following a Financial Conduct Authority insider trading investigation, the Telegraph reports.

He is suspected of buying an unspecified amount of shares before the announcement of the deal, which caused the price to soar last March.

The lucrative deal, which saw Morrisons pay £170m to buy Ocado’s distribution centre in Dordon and licence its technology, will also net the delivery service a regular performance fee and contributions to its research and development costs.

Ocado’s shares are up some 281% since the two companies announced their tie-up, and closed yesterday at 505p.

Coyle was arrested in Harrogate by Yorkshire Police. Neither the police nor the FCA named Coyle, only confirming a 49-year-old Morrisons employee had been arrested on suspicion of insider trading. He is yet to be charged, and it is reported he has yet to return to work since his arrest.

Insider dealing is punishable by a fine or up to seven years in prison..

Morrisons and the FCA declined to comment. Mr Coyle could not be reached

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