He was found guilty of manipulating stock market through his newspaper column

London: An NRI journalist, found guilty of manipulating the stock market through his newspaper column, has escaped a jail sentence but will have to perform 180 hours of community service.

Anil Bhoyrul, who worked for the Daily Mirror and co-wrote the `City Slicker' shared tipping column with James Hipwell. He entered a limited guilty plea to the charge at his trial late last year. Delivering the judgment, Justice Jack Beatson of St Albans Crown Court said on Friday that the crime was ``serious'' and deserving of a custodial sentence but gave 38-year-old Bhoyrul credit for entering a guilty plea before the seven-week trial began. Hipwell's sentencing was adjourned for medical reasons. The two allegedly made huge profits in 1999 and 2000 by buying shares, tipping them in their column and selling them after the price rose.

Prosecutors claimed that by failing to disclose a conflict of interest, the two journalists gave ``a misleading impression as to the value of shares.'' They claimed that many of the tips were factually inaccurate, and that the tone of the articles was deceptive because it gave the impression that stocks should be bought, when in fact the duo themselves were selling. After a four-year investigation by the Department of Trade and Industry, Bhoyrul, Hipwell and Terry Shepherd, who conspired with the journalists, were charged with conspiring to create a misleading impression as to the value of shares. - PTI