One of the men behind Australia’s biggest insider trading case has broken his silence, detailing his role in a heist of almost $8 million involving secret accounts, betrayal and a police chase resembling a mafia sting.
The Australian Financial Review podcast catalogues how Kamay betrayed his university friend, Hill, at the first available opportunity by opening two secret trading accounts.
“The betrayal of Chris by Lukas is one of the highest I’ve ever seen,” said Special Agent Dean Wealands from the Australian Federal Police, who ran the investigation and features on the podcast.
The Sure Thing charts how Kamay violated his agreement with Hill on the eve of their first illegal trade and continued to deceive him over the next nine months until they were arrested in May 2014.
‘I think it’s Shakespearean in its betrayal. You know, there’s a sort of tragic element in the lack of loyalty’
In that time Kamay paid $2.37million for the apartment of Adelaide twins Alisa and Lysandra Fraser from The Block and was looking into buying a Ferrari.
Lysandra remembers Kamay as a “cocky”, “showpony” who complained about the microwave being dirty.
Despite the betrayal Hill won’t criticise his university friend, Kamay.
“People always ask me, you must hate Lukas he fucked you over,” said Hill.
“I don’t look at it that way. And …. people don’t always believe me. I don’t like saying the word betrayed.”
The Sure Thing begins with the formulation of a near-perfect plan by Hill and Kamay during a “two day piss-up” at a beach house on the Mornington Peninsular and how their trading then sparked the largest joint investigations ever undertaken by federal police and the corporate regulator.
As many as 80 AFP officers worked the case at its peak and employed the type of techniques usually associated with cracking an organised crime ring – wire taps, hidden cameras and physical surveillance.
And when it was time to make arrests, the AFP also left nothing to chance.
“There must have been 15 of them [officers], two dogs,” says Hill of the morning he was taken into custody.
“They were yelling and screaming for me to open the door … just chaos.”
Under the agreement, Hill agreed to pass yet-to-be-released figures from the ABS to Kamay, who used the information to place bets on the Australian dollar.
To avoid detection the pair agreed the trades should be kept relatively small and their profits limited to $200,000.
But instead of committing relatively modest, under the radar insider trading, Kamay rapidly became the biggest Australian client for online foreign exchange broker Pepperstone Group, turning $10,000 of seed money into $7.8 million in just nine months.
“I think it’s Shakespearean in its betrayal. You know, there’s a sort of tragic element in the lack of loyalty,” said Professor Clinton Free from the University of Sydney Business School who has followed the case closely.
Professor Free suspects it was always Kamay’s plan to betray Hill and this was the reason they were eventually caught.