Bitcoin Needs Tighter Rules Than Banks, Say Prosecutors (Bloomberg)
“Without stronger government oversight, we are allowing cybercriminals, identity thieves, traffickers of child pornography, and other malevolent actors to operate in a digital Wild West,” Cyrus Vance Jr., the district attorney for Manhattan, said at a hearing yesterday about possible state regulation of digital currencies.
Gray Shines in Blackstone’s Succession Plan (WSJ)
Jonathan Gray, head of Blackstone Group BX -0.58% LP’s $69 billion property business, is the top candidate to succeed Hamilton “Tony” James as the firm’s No. 2 executive, according to people close to the situation. Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, chief executive and co-founder, has made clear to senior executives within the past year that Mr. Gray is the front-runner to take over as Blackstone president should Mr. James, who is approaching 63 years old, depart within the next few years, as many at the firm expect, according to people familiar with the discussions. That could put Mr. Gray in pole position eventually to vie for Mr. Schwarzman’s job if and when the 66-year-old decides to take a step back, these people say.
Defense Plays Down Martoma’s Role (WSJ)
On Wednesday, Mr. Cohen’s employees testified that the SAC founder based his trading decisions on a number of sources and had the last word on any trades in firm accounts. “I personally think that Steve is the greatest trader of all time,” said Chandler Bocklage, Mr. Cohen’s longtime research trader and self-proclaimed “right-hand man.” Mr. Bocklage, a portfolio manager at SAC, said that Mr. Cohen regularly consulted with other portfolio managers on Mr. Martoma’s area of expertise, health-care stocks, testimony that could help Mr. Martoma’s defense…Mr. Martoma’s lawyers also used the testimony of the firm’s own general counsel, Peter Nussbaum, to underscore their point that Mr. Cohen depended on more than one person for trading advice on specific stocks.
Investment Bank Defectors Fuel Startup Scene in Hong Kong (Bloomberg)
On the fringes of Hong Kong’s Central financial district, 11 stories above the warren of streets stocked with Chinese medicine, shark fins and hairy crabs, a technology startup scene is brewing. Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) banker James Giancotti sits in his 10 square meter (100 square foot) office overlooking the harbor and listens to wannabe entrepreneurs pitch ideas for crowd funding — where companies seek relatively small sums of money from a large pool of investors, typically through the Internet. He vetted 78 in the last four months of 2013, and attracted more than 900 potential backers. Giancotti is part of a fledgling community that includes bankers looking to exit the financial industry and entrepreneurs seeking opportunities in Asia’s fast-growing economies. After years attempting to promote designated technology hubs from the top down, the local government has also begun to facilitate the grassroots movement as Hong Kong seeks to catch the global wave of startups.
“Cuddle Rage” Case Dropped By Prosecutors (TSG)
Prosecutors have declined to pursue a domestic abuse case against the Florida woman who was arrested last month for allegedly battering her live-in boyfriend after he refused to “cuddle” with her in bed. In a Circuit Court filing, an assistant state attorney reported that a misdemeanor battery charge would not be filed against Shavonna Rumph, a 31-year-old KFC employee. According to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report, Rumph got into a December 28 altercation in the Bradenton home she shares with Henry Price, her 33-year-old boyfriend. The couple had been drinking through the night, a deputy reported, when a dispute erupted “over Henry refusing to ‘cuddle’ with Shavonna when they went to bed.” The ensuing argument, “turned physical when Shavonna grabbed Henry by the shirt, causing it to tear,” according to the report…A January 24 court filing does not detail why prosecutors declined to pursue a battery case against Rumph, whose rap sheet includes a prior criminal mischief collar. Rumph was busted in April 2011 following a fight with Price. Investigators alleged that she flattened the tires of Price’s car and smashed the vehicle’s windows. She was also accused of breaking an apartment window while Price was on the phone dialing 911.
Deutsche Bank suspends New York head of EM forex desk: source (Reuters)
Deutsche Bank has suspended the head of its emerging markets foreign exchange trading desk in New York in connection with ongoing investigations into the alleged manipulation of the global currency market, a source familiar with the matter said. Diego Moraiz, who has been with the bank since 2004 and has specialized in trading the Mexican peso, was told by the bank on December 18 that he was suspended, the source said. Moraiz’s suspension came after an external consulting firm hired by Deutsche Bank examined emails and communications in chatrooms going back seven years, the source said. The specific reason for the suspension is unclear.
El-Erian’s departure disappointing: Gross (CNBC)
“I’m disappointed. We’re disappointed. When he came back [to Pimco] six years ago … we thought he would be my successor and would be in place for 10 to 15 years. That’s not going to be the case,” Gross said on “Street Signs.”
TPG Capital says it is raising up to $2 billion for bridge fund (Reuters)
TPG told a public meeting of one of its investors, the Oregon Investment Council, that it was seeking between $1.6 billion and $2 billion for an interim fund that was intended to serve as “bridge investment capital” until it starts raising its first major global fund since the financial crisis.
Millionaire asked ex-wife to stay on as housekeeper (Telegraph)
A businessman who carried on living with his former wife after they divorced asked her if she would stay on as his housekeeper when he installed another woman in the home, a High Court judge was told. The man could not understand why his former wife became “so aggressive” when he informed her of the new arrangements, the court heard. On Wednesday Mr Justice Bodey ruled that she was entitled to nearly half of her former husband’s £13.6 million fortune. The Family Division of the High Court, heard that the couple, who cannot be named and are from London, married in the late 1970s and divorced in the 1990s. The judge said they treated the divorce as “just a piece of paper” and carried on living together.