A former banker at VTB facing an insider trading probe who deleted WhatsApp from his smartphone has been charged with destroying documents by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority in a groundbreaking prosecution.
Konstantin Vishnyak, 41, was under investigation by the FCA for suspected insider dealing offences. The watchdog alleged he deleted the WhatsApp messaging app on his phone after investigators demanded to see it.
Vishnyak, who pleaded not guilty Sept. 6, will appear Oct. 4 in a London court, the Financial Conduct Authority said in a statement. This is the FCA's first prosecution in connection with the alleged destruction of documents under Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000, the watchdog said in a statement.
The FCA alleges Vishnyak deleted the WhatsApp application on his mobile phone after he was required to provide it as part of the investigation"
Under the Act, a person is guilty of an offence if he or she knows an investigation is being or is likely to be conducted and destroys any relevant documents.
This applies if a person "falsifies, conceals, destroys or otherwise disposes of a document which he knows or suspects is or would be relevant to such an investigation", unless they show no intention of concealing facts disclosed by the documents from the investigator.
"Vishnyak was under investigation by the FCA for suspected insider dealing offences," the statement read. "The FCA alleges Vishnyak deleted the WhatsApp application on his mobile phone after he was required to provide it as part of the investigation."
Vishnyak worked at VTB Capital between 2008 and 2016 and is now head of business development at Queen Street Finance.
The offence with which he is charged carries a maximum two-year sentence.