Blackpool FC owner appears in court to face insider trading allegations

Simon Sadler

Blackpool FC’s owner Simon Sadler has appeared in court in Hong Kong this morning to face allegations of insider trading.

Sadler founded the Hong Kong hedge fund, Segantii Capital Management, in 2007 and is its chief investment officer.

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has started criminal proceedings against Segantii, Sadler and former trader Daniel La Rocca.

The SFC alleges insider trading in the shares of an unnamed company listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited prior to a block trade in June 2017.

No plea was taken when the defendants appeared at the Eastern Magistrates’ Court and the case was adjourned to June 12. Sadler’s bail was set at HK$1m (£100,000).

Sadler grew up in Blackpool and named his hedge fund after the sub-tribe that are said to have dominated the North before the Romans.

The 54-year-old studied at UMIST then worked in investment banking in London, Moscow and Hong Kong before launching Segantii in 2007.

Sadler paid around £10m to take over Blackpool FC in 2019, ending three decades of ownership by the Oyston family.

The club was promoted into the Championship at the end of the 2020-21 season but was relegated after two seasons. Despite a late run of form, Blackpool just missed out on the League One play-offs this season.

In a statement, Blackpool FC said: “We have been made aware of a charge brought in Hong Kong against the club’s owner Simon Sadler which is entirely unrelated to the club and its operations.

“It will remain business as usual for our day-to-day operations. We understand that Mr Sadler will vigorously defend himself against the charge and there will be no further comments at this time from the club.”

In March, Sadler announced a £1.5m gift to the University of Manchester to fund a bursary for students leaving care. The Sadler Bursary is set to provide an annual grant of £10,000 for 36 undergraduate care-leaver students, with particular priority being given to students from the North West.

The University of Manchester declined to say whether it had received the money or if it would review the bursary scheme.

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