Opening Bell: 01.30.14

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.

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Comments (25)

  1. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Note to self, scratch maid idea…

  2. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    Idea… Note to self, scratch maid,

  3. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    "I mean, he doesn't even text me back and now he's blocked me on Instagram," Gross added. "I thought we had fun together."

  4. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    To be fair, from the picture Ms. Rumph is ~200 lbs lighter than I had imagined.

  5. Posted by Bartertown | January 30, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Don't cuddle with the manatees

  6. Posted by El scorcho | January 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    God damn you half Japanese girls …..you do it to me every time …….

  7. Posted by Other Guest | January 30, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    Scratch self; note maid.

  8. Posted by E. Texas Gas Trader | January 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Judging from the cast of characters mentioned by Mr. Vance, I wouldn't be surprised if Brent crude oil traders and US domestic natural gas traders were doing deals in Bitcoin by now. I'll have to ask the question today in the chat room.

  9. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 9:40 AM

    The weather is very cold today, it'll be interesting to see how it changes come spring…

  10. Posted by Grudgefuck MD | January 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM

    Cuddle maid, rage bitch.

  11. Posted by Denver -3 | January 30, 2014 at 10:01 AM

    She's got a rumph that won't quit though.

  12. Posted by E. Tx Gas Compliance | January 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    What chat room ?

  13. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 10:05 AM

    "We've identified a potential takeover target for the fund already," the TPG representative continued. "It's a highly respected name in the bridge industry, adjoining one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., with very strong traffic. We are in contact with a seller who assures us that he can sell us the property at a very attractive price."

  14. Posted by El Gasparino | January 30, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Diego Moraiz is a friend of mine.

  15. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I'll be even more interested to see how they regulate it.

    Form DIGC-7f

    1. Did you at any point in the last year (check all that apply):
    [ ] Own any digital currency
    [ ] Purchase any digital currency
    [ ] Sell any digital currency
    [ ] Mine any digital currency
    [ ] Operate a digital currency exchange
    [ ] Buy or sell any other product using digital currency as the medium

    2. With respect to Question 1 above, did you (check one):
    ( ) Tell us the whole truth, you promise
    ( ) Tell us what you're pretty sure is the truth
    ( ) Pick random box(es) because you're not certain
    ( ) Totally lie because you know perfectly well that, what with this whole "encryption" thing, we have no way of verifying any information regarding who owns or who transacts in digital currency and that you can totally get away with lying to us and there's nothing we can do about it*

    (*If you checked the last option in Question 2 above, please call the following number: 888 555 1234, and when prompted by the menu, select "I am voluntarily reporting a violation of the digital currency regulations, because if I didn't there would be no way you would catch me".)

  16. Posted by El gundle hefe | January 30, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Huff glade, scratch and sniff

  17. Posted by Guest | January 30, 2014 at 10:33 AM

    And for godfucks sake DO NOT google manatee sex.

  18. Posted by Heavy | January 30, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    You got shit on again?

  19. Posted by Stevie | January 30, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    I wonder if this maid idea is my best solution right now.

  20. Posted by el invitado | January 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM
  21. Posted by El Blumpkin | January 30, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Lobsterclops is still the cuddle rage queen.

  22. Posted by Chase_Sapphire | January 30, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    She maxed out your debit card on a designer handbag? I know the feeling.

  23. Posted by FinancialPerryMason | January 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Seriously looking bad for Stevie. Nothing nefarious about selling the whole position in dark pools and algos. The problem is, it looks like the sale was hidden from a lot of people at SAC, even compliance. Plus he's selling the whole position using a COHE account as opposed to what? Were the positions sitting in other accounts and he magically journal transferred to COHE? I would be looking into front running of clients there.

    The guy that was supposed to have tipped Stevie off to getting out the position was a paid consultant but somehow wasn't paid for that information? Bad optics there. And just because Stevie was given the same inside info from 2 sources that heard it from the same doctor doesn't cancel out the fact that it's inside info.

    This evidence makes it look more like Martoma didn't trade on inside info. Maybe he should get off?

  24. Posted by Texashedge | January 30, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Well it is just neck up

  25. Posted by KingCo | January 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

    I think you meant to post this on AboveTheYahoo!Finance.com