Trial commences against Magnus Peterson into the collapse of Weavering and the loss of $600m of investors' money - Amanda Pinto QC prosecutes for the SFO

The trial has commenced at Southwark Crown Court against Magnus Peterson. Amanda Pinto QC opens the case for the SFO. The FT reports:

The founder of one of London's oldest hedge funds "robbed Peter to pay Paul" and lost $600m of investors' money through "dishonesty" rather than through "bad luck or incompetence", a jury heard on Tuesday.

Magnus Peterson, the Swedish-born founder of Weavering, lured investors through the promise of a low-risk trading strategy then covered up losses made by its macro fund through secret trades with a related company, Weavering Capital Fund, Southwark Crown Court heard on Tuesday on the opening day of a trial that is scheduled to last until the end of the year.

The Serious Fraud Office accuses Mr Peterson of 16 counts of fraud, forgery and theft. He denies the charges, reports Caroline Binham, Legal Correspondent.

"This case is about a fraud carried out by Mr Peterson through an investment fund he ran between 2003 and 2009," Amanda Pinto, QC for the SFO, told the jury. "He was an experienced trader in financial instruments."

In addition, Mr Peterson personally made £7m between 2005 and 2009 through performance-related fees, the court heard.

The collapse of Weavering in 2009 was emblematic of the financial crisis. Ms Pinto alleged that:

When WCF owed the macro fund money because of these trades it did not pay as expected. In effect the money owed was never paid but the 'IOU' was used to go into the books of the macro fund and it increased the performance as seen in the books of the macro fund.

Mr Peterson, dressed in a navy suit and tie, spoke only to enter his not guilty pleas to all 16 counts on what constituted a "long and complicated" indictment, according to Ms Pinto.

The trial continues.