Published on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Expedia employee admits insider trading

An IT technician employed by Expedia Inc allegedly used his expertise to gain access to executives' computers and gleaned confidential information which he used to make money trading in the company's shares.

Jonathan Ly, who is no longer with the travel giant, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in the US District Court in Seattle on Monday.

He allegedly made $331,000 from gaining access to 'non-public and proprietary information belonging to Expedia'.

Ly, who worked for Expedia's Hotwire brand, infiltrated employee accounts including those of Expedia's chief financial officer and its head of investor relations, assistant US attorney Katheryn Frierson said in court documents.

"Ly fraudulently obtained the information in order to execute a series of well-timed and lucrative securities trades in Expedia options," Frierson said.

Ly is accused of stealing information from 2013 until late 2015.

Prosecutors allege Ly continued to steal information even after he left the company in April 2015, by using a company-owned laptop he failed to return.

They said he had information about Expedia's earnings reports and privileged knowledge of market moving events such as the impending approval from the Department of Justice of Expedia's takeover of Orbitz.

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The recent insolvency of Low Cost Travel Group, one of the large players in the travel industry had a big impact on the travelers, hotels and all related players from both wholesale & retail arms. There were about 27,000 people on a holiday who had booked through the company comprised of a €200 million wholesale arm and €500 million OTA / retail arm.