A former Rio Tinto executive convicted and fined for insider trading has avoided jail and has been released on an 18-month good behaviour bond in a state court of Australia.

Britain-based John Francis O’Reilly, who worked at Rio Tinto from 1987 to 1996, had pleaded guilty and was fined A$30,000 ($27,986) for insider trading.

O’Reilly, as a director of Lion Selection, bought 50,000 ordinary shares in his former company Indophil on 13 May 2008, knowing the share price would increase.

O’Reilly knew that Lion Selection, which owned 25% of Indophil, was about to sell its Indophil shares, triggering a takeover by the buyer, Xstrata.

After the share prices jumped following Xstrata’s acquisition, O’Reilly reportedly made a profit of $29,000.

Justice Terry Forrest of Victorian said he accepted O’Reilly’s action was driven by his acrimonious departure from the board of Indophil in 2007, reports news.smh.au.