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Spoiler alert: Sorkin is fairly certain you can’t, saying as much in an email leaked as part of the massive Sony hacking. For anyone waiting for a blockbuster about high-frequency trading, well, keep waiting. In the meantime, Sorkin would like to be left alone so he can get back to writing that fucking Steve Jobs movie. Read more »

  • 12 Dec 2014 at 5:20 PM

Deal Judge: It’s Time To Give Up On Insider Trading

lEd. note: This is a new weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline, wrapping up the week that was in law and finance. Elie is not a practicing attorney, and anything he says that you listen to can and will be used against you.

The Only Issue I Care About This Week: We Have Better Things to Do Than Prosecute Insider Trading. That’s the title of a Justin Fox article in the Harvard Business Review. Sadly, I think he’s right.

In broad strokes the world can be divided up into three types of people:

* Group 1: Yokels who hear “insider trading” and shout “rabble rabble” at someplace they think is called “Wall Street” while they sharpen their pitchforks.

* Group 2: Wealthy elites and their media spokespeople who believe insider trading is a “victimless crime” as if Peter Gibbons from Office Space is their spirit totem.

* Group 3: Prosecutors who want to be Governors and are trying to shore up the yokel vote.

It’s all terrible. EVERYBODY IS WRONG ALL THE TIME. The people who care about rich people “cheating” don’t even understand what insider trading is anymore. The people who cheat have priced in the risk of getting caught. Over-matched regulators bite at the ankles of symptoms while being totally unable to address root causes.

I believe that we could live in a world where people who trade on material non-public information suffered criminal penalties severe enough to make them stop. But I also believe the Mets are one bat away from being a contender. Reality, it turns out, doesn’t give a crap about what I believe.

Read more »

ben edelmanHarvard-educated Harvard professor Ben Edelman has now apologized for threatening legal action against Sichuan Garden for overcharging him $4, and now Boston.com, where four of the top five stories right now involve the academic, breaks the news to readers that he may have done something similar in 2010. A now-closed sushi spot called Osushi apparently got an irate email offering “three distinct reasons” why Edelman’s Groupon was valid on the prix fixe menu. The restaurant had originally stated the deal did not extend to the set menu, which apparently rankled Edelman, who fired off an email claiming that failure to honor his interpretation of the coupon as well as extend it for six additional weeks would force him to dedicate his valuable time to fighting Osushi’s Common Victualler License and Alcoholic Beverage License. [GrubStreet]

Steve-Cohen-of-SAC-by-Bloomberg-1Will Cohen celebrate the loss by his noted #2 enemy1 at the hands of an appeals court by saying, “Fuck it, you know what? We’re re-re-naming the firm?” We’ll just have to wait and see (but it seems possible). Read more »

What? No good?

What? No good?

If anyone had said anything to James Holbrook when he first started there about that sort of thing being frowned upon…cause, you know, he’s worked in a lot of offices and people do that all the time. Read more »

Here Are Some Things That Paul Singer Thinks Suck

While you're at it, care to weigh in on this Obama guy?Our friends over at DealBook yesterday gave the Elliott Management chief an audience and a microphone, which means that Paul Singer did what he does when he gets an audience and a microphone: Give his enemies a piece of his mind. The Fed? A bunch of self-important “enablers” with a martyr complex. CalPERS? Doesn’t know what the hell it’s talking about. Corporate boards? Lazy incompetents. And don’t get him started on Argentina… oh, wait, forget it: He’s already started. Read more »

Buffalo Has Hedge Fund Frauds, Too

DON'T INVEST WITH THIS GUY.What’s more, the snowed-in former metropolis’ hedge-fund scams look an awful lot like everyone else’s. Read more »

Opening Bell: 12.12.14

mark zuckerbergCritics See Overreach in Prosecutors’ Insider-Trading PushPicking at Prosecutors’ Push (WSJ)
In the wake of Wednesday’s ruling, parties on both sides of the issue were sifting through the fallout and advocating their positions. Defense lawyers smarting from five years’ worth of defeats were seizing on the ruling as the final verdict of prosecutorial overreach. Lawyer Ross Albert of Morris Manning & Martin, who has worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the ruling brings back “some needed balance to insider-trading law.” On the other side are alumni of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office who said some of the judges’ admonishments weren’t fair. The hardest cases were saved for last, and there was always a chance of defeat. That prospect, however, wasn’t reason to avoid going to trial, they said. “When you get to the end of a series of prosecutions like these, the ones at the end are not as core and easy as the ones at the beginning,” said Jonathan Streeter, who prosecuted Raj Rajaratnam and is now a partner at Dechert LLP. Both sides agree the ruling will make insider-trading prosecutions tougher going forward. The court said prosecutors must prove traders knew that the person who provided an inside tip gained some sort of tangible reward for doing so.

Some Accused of Insider Trading May Rethink Their Guilty Pleas (Dealbook)
In legal circles it is seen as likely that the ruling will mean that Michael Steinberg, a former portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors, will have his conviction overturned because he traded on the same information that did not constitute an illegal tip for Mr. Chiasson and Mr. Newman. Several others who pleaded guilty and testified as cooperating witnesses in the trials of Mr. Chiasson, Mr. Newman and Mr. Steinberg may also seek to withdraw their pleas, since they implicitly pleaded guilty to something that was not a crime, according to the appellate court ruling. (Mr. Steinberg remains free pending an appeal.) Roland Riopelle, the lawyer for Danny Kuo, a former analyst who pleaded guilty to insider trading and cooperated with the government in its investigation of Mr. Chiasson and Mr. Newman, said he has contacted prosecutors in the wake of the appellate ruling.

House Narrowly Passes Bill to Avoid Shutdown; $1.1 Trillion in Spending (NYT)
The House on Thursday narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion spending package that would fund most government operations for the fiscal year after a rancorous debate that reflected the new power held by Republicans and the disarray among Democrats in the aftermath of the midterm elections. The accord was reached in a 219-206 vote amid last-minute brinkmanship and bickering that has come to mark one of the capital’s most polarized eras. The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it in the coming days. The split in the Democratic Party dramatically came into view when Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader and one of President Obama’s most loyal supporters, broke with the administration over a provision in the bill that would roll back regulation of the Dodd-Frank Act, which Ms. Pelosi said was a giveaway to big banks whose practices helped fuel the Great Recession. She spoke on the House floor in the early afternoon, asking Democrats not to vote for the bill.

Corporate Germany Set for Gender Revolution (WSJ)
Corporate Germany is on the cusp of a gender revolution after Chancellor Angela Merkel ’s government adopted a bill on Thursday that will dramatically increase the number of women in the top echelons of the country’s mightiest corporations. The bill, which is now moving to Parliament for final approval, will require large listed companies to fill 30% of their supervisory board seats with female nonexecutive directors and force thousands of large and midsize businesses to set binding targets for women top managers.

Man has 8 minutes to convince prostitutes to quit in new reality show (EW)
A&E has greenlit a provocative new reality series in which a man tries to convince prostitutes to quit their jobs. EW has learned exclusively that the network has ordered eight episodes of 8 Minutes (working title), a series featuring cop-turned-pastor Kevin Brown surprising escorts in hotel rooms and offering to rescue them from a life of trading sex for cash. In each episode, Brown has eight minutes to make his case. Executive producer Tom Forman (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Great Food Truck Race) says the show was inspired by a 2013 LA Times article about Brown, an Orange County vice cop turned pastor who teamed with his church to create an undercover prostitute intervention operation. Read more »