ECHR Rejects Soros' Complaint of Unfair Prosecution for Insider Trading

The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed philanthropist George Soros’ application challenging his 2002 conviction in France for insider trading. [FT]  Last September, the court declared his complaint partially admissible, admitting Soros’ allegation that the crime with which he was charged was not clearly established in French law (in violation of the nulla poena sine lege, or no ex post facto punishment principles) and that French courts failed to consider EU law.  The court rejected Soros’ complaints of other due process violations and discrimination.  Earlier this month, however, the ECHR ruled that there had been no violation of the European Convention.

In the 4-3 majority opinion, the court seemed to rely an individual- or context-specific definition of foreseeability, stating that, although Soros was the first person to be prosecuted in France for this type of offense (insider trading without any professional or contractual relationship with the company whose shares he purchased) Soros “should have been particularly prudent” because of the novelty of the law and because he was presumed to know – based on “his status and experience” that his investment decision entailed risk of illegality. [ECHR]

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