Chubby-cheeked maverick nicked in FSA fraud probe
Remember Alex Hope? He’s the 23-year-old hot-shot FX trader who blew £125,000 on a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne. It was our exclusive interview with Mr Hope which revealed what a curious character he is. Turns out he did one term in sport science at university and pays for trading desk. His delusions of expertise in economics are sans pareil (“I learned what would normally take three years in two months”).
Our article generated a lot of interest from the Daily Mail and City AM which both wanted answers from Hope and his PR company (yes, he has his own PR firm to promote his image – don’t we all?). Now the Financial Services Authority has shown it has Mr Hope on its radar. Yesterday Alex Hope was arrested in East London “on suspicion of committing offences under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Fraud Act 2006”.
Hope denies all wrongdoing. The FSA says that the arrest is not linked to any other investigations.
The arrest seems to confirm the ancient City rule that behaving in a flamboyant manner invites a fall.
Older readers may remember Jeffrey Archer’s son and his fellow traders at Credit Suisse First Boston who took part in a Reservoir Dogs photoshoot, calling themselves the “Flaming Ferraris”. An Observer report quoted on CFSB insider: “The big cheeses were very pissed off…The CSFB lot are mostly Americans, who can’t stand loud-mouthed prima donnas.”
In the end three of the team were banned from the City for life, including James Archer, who was found to have used a secret mobile phone account to place a buy order.
To repeat: we still don’t know the details of Hope’s arrest, and emphasise he has been found guilty of nothing yet and may walk clear without a stain to his name. But the slagging he’s got via Twitter following his ludicrous champagne purchase in Liverpool, plus his unwillingness to answer the perfectly straightforward questions put by us in the article, is a reminder of the City follows the old Greek adage: hubris invites nemesis.
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