Ex-AIT directors will leave prison within weeks

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The Independent Online

Carl Rigby and Gareth Bailey, the former directors of the software company AIT who were convicted of market abuse last year, will be released from prison within weeks, swapping their cells for electronic tags.

The pair were convicted in August in the Financial Services Authority's first criminal prosecution for market abuse.

At the sentencing in October, Rigby, who was AIT's former chairman and chief executive, was given three and a half years in prison, while Bailey, the former finance director, was given a sentence of two years. However, Bailey may get out in less than 100 days.

Although Rigby and Bailey successfully had their sentences reduced in the Court of Appeal last month - to 18 months and nine months respectively - they have discovered they qualify for even earlier release thanks to the UK's electronic-tagging system.

Bailey, who after his reduced sentence was likely to be released at the end of next month, could be allowed home within days. Rigby, whose release would not have been until July, is likely to be allowed home shortly after.

Under the tagging scheme, the pair will be subject to strict curfews, which restrict them from leaving their homes after dark, and from leaving the country. The pair will be able to begin working again.

Neil Mirchandani, a partner at Lovells, the City law firm, said the greatly reduced sentences, combined with the pair's early release at the hands of the electronic-tagging system, could reduce the deterrent effect which the FSA had hoped to achieve by securing the convictions.

"Certainly, [the sentences] have been watered down a lot," he said. "The initial sentences were viewed as pretty tough ... and I wasn't surprised to see them reduced. But given they will now spend hardly anytime in jail because of electronic tagging, you have to question whether this will be viewed as much of a deterrent."

The FSA would not comment on the pair's early release, saying it was a matter for the court.

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