“You know Walid?” asks the young receptionist at the discreet entrance on 40 Jermyn Street in London’s high-end Mayfair district.
The answer can determine whether or not you get into Tramp, a private members’ club famous for “50 years of celebrity debauchery” that’s been graced by Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and Rihanna. It has gained fresh notoriety as the epicenter of London’s biggest insider-trading case in years.
A “yes, I know Walid,” can unlock an exclusive club that dubs itself “London’s favorite place to misbehave” and the Londonist website called a “hedonistic Mayfair nightclub where movie stars and rock gods came to drink.”
The Walid in question is day trader and longtime member Walid Choucair, who was found guilty of insider trading by a London jury this week.
Prosecutors allege that Choucair, 40, used the allure of Tramp and the “glamorous lifestyle” it offered to coax Fabiana Abdel-Malek, then a UBS Group AG compliance officer, into passing on confidential information that netted him a 1.4 million-pound ($1.8 million) trading profit. Abdel-Malek was also found guilty of insider trading.
The pair — convicted of five counts — were each sentenced to three years by Judge Joanna Korner, who said that they must serve at least half the term in prison. They plan to appeal their convictions, according to their lawyers.