NOW

The Insider Trading Case Everyone Is Talking About

Oliver Curtis was sentenced to a maximum two years' jail on Friday.

24/06/2016 10:33 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Photo by Anna Kucera/Fairfax Media
Oliver Curtis and Roxy Jacenko outside court.

It's been labelled the "insider trading trial of the decade" which pitted former school friends, Oliver Curtis and John Hartman against each other, the latter being the prosecution's star witness.

The state found the duo guilty of making $1.43 million in a year after striking an illegal deal in 2007 to use confidential information to bet on the share market. On Friday Curtis was sentenced to a maximum two years' jail. Hartman has already served time for the crime and was released four years ago.

The definition of insider trading? An investor profits on non-public or confidential information at the expense of others. Sounds simple, a little ordinary even. But this was no ordinary case.

It had all the ingredients for a media circus: two privileged young men from Sydney's north shore, the betrayal of a "good mate" and of course, the glamour of Curtis' high profile publicist wife, Roxy Jacenko, or "Sydney's PR Queen".

If you happened to live outside of Sydney, it's likely these names simply floated past vacantly in your feed between election sound bites. But the trial has enthralled the legal and banking sector and brought up many questions.

Questions of privilege. Questions of loyalty. Questions of intense media scrutiny and perhaps most significantly, questions of corruption.

Here's what you need to know about the case.

Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media
Oliver Curtis and wife Roxy Jacenko arrive at his insider trading trial on June 1.

The Star Witness

Hartman grew up in the exclusive suburb of Mosman on Sydney's lower north shore and attended the prestigious St Ignatius College, Riverview. The second-youngest of six children, he is the son of well-known Sydney obstetrician, Keith Hartman.

He attended Sydney University and studied a bachelor of economics. By 20 he was an equities dealer for a fund manager and rapidly climbed the career ladder, soon enjoying a lavish lifestyle on Sydney's social scene with his best friend and fellow Riverview olds boy, Curtis, an investment banker.

Photo by Louise Kennerley/Fairfax
John Hartman.

But by 25, Hartman was in prison after being caught for a string of insider trading offences. He confessed, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to at least three years behind bars. Hartman's sentence was reduced after he agreed to give evidence against his friend, Curtis. He was released in March 2012.

Throughout this month's hearing, Hartman, 30, was accused of making up an allegation against Curtis in order to secure himself less jail time and cutting a deal with the corporate regulator to drop some charges.

The Love Story

Three years before meeting his future wife and mother of his children, Oliver Curtis, the son of mining magnate Nick Curtis, counted John Hartman as his best friend.

Both St Ignatius old boys shared similar jobs in the finance sector as well as a luxurious Bondi Beach apartment, perched opposite Icebergs cliffside restaurant.

Hartman would later describe this period as two 21-year-olds "swept up in a fake world" of cash, cars and overseas holidays. It was during this period the duo allegedly hatched a plan that would change the course of their lives in a way they could never imagine.

But it would take more than nine years to convict Curtis.

@1903oprc @huntercurtis14 @pixiecurtis ❤️ 8 | 6 | 16

A photo posted by Roxy Jacenko (@roxyjacenko) on

And in that time, Curtis, who was no longer in touch with Hartman, then behind bars, met a successful publicist on Sydney's social circuit, Jacenko.

What followed was a Christmas Day proposal and the birth of their first child, a girl, Pixie. Next, a fairytale wedding ceremony at Quay restaurant with Sydney's Opera House as the backdrop.

The bride wore Vera Wang and the occasion was splashed across the social pages: PR darling weds investment banker. A power couple was born.

Two years later, they welcomed their second child, a baby boy, Hunter, into the world.

An Already Public Life

Curtis pleaded not guilty to the charges and has attempted a quiet life as the primary carer for their two young children for the past three years, despite his wife's public career.

He had the support of his wife throughout the trial though the media coverage, at times focused more on Jacenko, with her courtroom outfits being discussed and disparaged almost as much as the case itself.

The media attention is not foreign to Jacenko, who has built a successful career on garnering headlines not only for her clients, but for herself.

WireImage
Roxy Jacenko attending the Crown Resorts Ladies Lunch at Inglis Stables at Inglis Newmarket Stables in March 2016.

Straight-talking and no BS, the country got their first taste of the PR maven when she appeared on the third season of Celebrity Apprentice. It was here that we witnessed the businesswoman-of-steel in action.

Having founded her business, Sweaty Betty PR at 24, Jacenko is known for making things happen. And fast.

A hard-worker and self described "obsessive" she has become the role model for budding PRs across the country.

She launched talent agency Ministry of Talent in 2012 and is the director of Pixie's Bows, an online children's accessories store. But her success hasn't been without its critics.

Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images
Roxy Jacenko and daughter Pixie Curtis attend Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2016.

She's spoken openly about her nose job, passionately defended her decision to allow her four-year-old, Pixie, to have a social media account (100,000 followers and counting), written three books and has stood by her husband throughout his conviction.

Her "In Conversation With Roxy Jacenko" workshops have sold out two years running, with 700 attending this year's seminar, rather untimely, on the morning of her husband's sentencing hearing.

Still, it was business as usual for powerhouse Jacenko. As was the case with Friday's sentencing.

The Aftermath

Each day of the trial Curtis and Jacenko presented a united front, arriving together and holding hands. It was reported that Hartman did not look at Curtis, avoiding his eye contact throughout the entire proceedings.

Beneath the glossy exterior, two young children lost their father for potentially 2 years on Friday. A childhood friendship was ruined forever and the wrongdoings of two affluent 20-something men from Sydney's north shore were made an example of by the corporate regulator.

But behind this story of wealth, privilege and success is a tale of white collar crime -- and that's the now the story of Oliver Curtis.

Visit HuffPost Australia's profile on Pinterest.

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement