One thing that most people probably agree on is that having their instant messages, e-mails, and phone calls end up court would be cause for at least a little embarrassment. Everyone’s thrown in an emoticon they aren’t proud of, some of us have used company time to chat with significant others about undergarments, and the vast majority of workers have spent a not insignificant amount of the workday talking shit about their superiors. Of course, the humiliation gets ratcheted up a notch in the case of people who ‘haha’ (and in extreme circumstances “hahahah’) their own jokes* which, just for example, involve habitual Libor manipulation. Tan Chi Min knows what we’re talking about:
“Nice Libor,” Tan said in an April 2, 2008, instant message with traders including Neil Danziger, who also was fired by RBS, and David Pieri. “Our six-month fixing moved the entire fixing, hahahah.”
And while having such an exchange become public would be tremendously awkward for most, you know what’s really ‘hahaha’ about this whole thing is that 1) Tan was the one who wanted people to read the above, which was submitted as part of a 231-page affidavit earlier this month and 2) He’s trying to use it as evidence that he didn’t deserve to be fired.
The conversations among traders at RBS and firms including Deutsche Bank AG illustrate how the risk of abuse was embedded in the process for setting Libor, the benchmark for more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide……Tan, the bank’s former Singapore-based head of delta trading for Asia, [is] suing Britain’s third-biggest lender by assets for wrongful dismissal after being fired last year for allegedly trying to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.
Tan, who ‘allegedly‘ tried to manipulate the London interbank offered rate, also included this conversations as part of his defense:
“What’s the call on Libor,” Jezri Mohideen, then the bank’s head of yen products in Singapore, asked Danziger in an Aug. 21, 2007, chat.
“Where would you like it, Libor that is,” Danziger asked, according to a transcript included in Tan’s filings.
“Mixed feelings, but mostly I’d like it all lower so the world starts to make a little sense,” another trader responded.
“The whole HF world will be kissing you instead of calling me if Libor move lower,” Tan said, referring to hedge funds.
“OK, I will move the curve down 1 basis point, maybe more if I can,” Danziger replied.
In another conversation on March 27, 2008, Tan called for RBS to raise its Libor submission, saying an earlier lower figure the bank submitted may have cost his team 200,000 pounds.
“We need to bump it way up high, highest among all if possible,” Tan said.
Tan also asked for a high submission in an Aug. 20, 2007, instant message to Scott Nygaard, global head of RBS’s treasury markets in London.
“We want high fix in 3s,” Tan said in the message. “Neil is the one setting the yen Libor in London now and for this week and next.”
“It’s just amazing how Libor fixing can make you that much money or lose if opposite,” Tan said on an Aug. 19, 2007, conversation with traders at other banks, including Deutsche Bank’s Mark Wong. “It’s a cartel now in London.”
And this philosophical one, for good measure:
“This whole process would make banks pull out of Libor fixing,” Tan said in a May 16, 2011, chat with money markets trader Andrew Smoler. “Question is what is illegal? If making money if bank fix it to suits its own books are illegal… then no point fixing it right? Cuz there will be days when we will def make money fixing it.”
The defense rests.
*Although actually people who do this probably don’t even have the good sense to be ashamed of themselves.
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Back in June, hedge fund manager Daniel Shak sued his ex-wife, Beth, over assets he claimed she’d hid during the couple’s divorce. Said assets were Beth’s shoes, which Daniel alleged were kept in a “secret room” and were worth approximately $1 million, 35 percent of which he wanted. It was a bit unclear as to why he was going after the footwear collection three years after the two split (though using the proceeds to relaunch his fund was a possibility) but the heart wants what the heart wants. Anyway, today brings just a couple follow-ups on the Shaks, both of which are slightly more exciting for Beth than Dan.
1. He won’t see a single pair of Loubs.
A civil suit brought by poker professional Dan Shak against his ex-wife, fellow poker pro Beth Shak, regarding her extensive shoe collection was dismissed in a court in New York after Mr. Shak advised his attorneys that he didn’t want to pursue the issue any further…the opening arguments apparently doomed the case in the eyes of the male Shak. Ms. Shak testified to Judge Daniele that her shoe fetish grew as a response to repeated denials of emotional attention from Mr. Shak. “I would not call these shoes a collection, I would call them a sickness at a particular point in my life,” Beth Shak testified to Judge Daniele as she recounted how Dan Shak would refuse her attempts at romantic encounters, according to the Post.
“I tried to get him to go to therapy with me, but it just didn’t work,” the Post quotes Ms. Shak as testifying. “I was so unhappy with my marriage that all I did was shop. There was nothing to our relationship…he and I had nothing.” Further into her testimony to the court, Ms. Shak stated that not only did Mr. Shak know about the shoes but even signed off on all the bills as they came before him. After a break following Ms. Shak’s testimony, Mr. Shak apparently had a change of heart regarding the lawsuit. His attorneys informed Judge Daniele that their client wanted to withdraw the case, which Judge Daniele quickly granted. Looking square at Mr. Shak as she dismissed the case, Judge Daniele is quoted by the Post as stating, “Well, thanks for wasting everybody’s time.”
2. She’s going into the shoe business!
Now that that the suit is over, Shak, who has an image of a pair of Louboutons tattooed just below her waist, is concentrating one what’s next — the launch her own line of shoes.
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Oh you can try a lawsuit but, historically speaking, it won’t do shit.
Nasdaq is sending a message to firms weighing lawsuits related to trading losses in Facebook’s initial public offering: winning won’t be easy. The exchange operator believes it is protected by its contracts with members and by its unusual legal status, which is rooted in its dual role as a regulatory body as well as a business that makes money running markets. Exchange officials in recent weeks have pointed out to analysts that Nasdaq has never been successfully sued over a trading error. “When you look at member agreements that people sign, it’s quite explicit that they’re bound by that accommodation policy,” Robert Greifeld, Nasdaq’s chief executive, said last week at a Sandler O’Neill + Partners conference, referring to legal agreements capping the exchange’s payouts linked to system problems…Banks and brokers have estimated they lost hundreds of millions of dollars due to technical problems during Facebook’s May 18 debut.
The glitches forced Nasdaq to delay Facebook’s opening, and left trades involving millions of shares unconfirmed for hours. Amid the chaos, traders were forced to guess their positions and place additional orders based on those estimates. When Nasdaq delivered the results of the trading Friday afternoon, many firms were caught off guard and scrambled to reposition.
According to Greifeld, the last guy who tried to get his money back “trades on the pink sheets now” but take your best shot.
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Got an unhappy employee (or former employee) on your hands who’s decided to channel his or her anger by penning an Op-Ed in a major publication detailing egregious acts being committed at your firm and/or going to the Feds with allegations of fraud? Not sure how to handle the fallout? Why not take a page from Donald Trump’s playabook? He found himself in a similar situation with regard to Sheena Monnin, a first-year Miss Pennsylvania who “resigned her crown” over the weekend, claiming that the Miss USA pageant is “rigged.” Here’s how Don dealt with the matter and how anyone thinking about taking a more hands-on approach to dealing with disgruntled employees might too:
Threaten to sue.
“We’re going to bring a lawsuit against this girl,” Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, told NBC’s “Today” show co-anchor Ann Curry on a phone interview; he used similar language in a phoner with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Note that you’ve already conducted a thorough investigation into the employee’s claims and that your internal probe has revealed them to be baseless.
Monnin announced Tuesday on her Facebook page she was turning in her tiara after she: “Witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage. Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said ‘FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012′ and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in.” “They’ve done an investigation,” Trump said today. “I just found out about it — they just reported to me about five minutes ago. The person that supposedly showed the list totally denies that that ever took place.”
Suggest, by saying outright, that the outburst can chalked up to the fact that this person didn’t receive the promotion she thought she deserved. Make it clear that she was not partner material. Sixth-year VP material at best.
Asked his first impression of Monnin, Trump said, “I saw her there. My impressions were she didn’t have a chance of being in the Top 15 — not even close. And all this is, is a girl who went there, lost, wasn’t in the 15, and she’s angry at the pageant system. Later, he added, “I never felt she had a chance. And all this is is buyer’s remorse.”
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As some of you may recall, back in March, Highland Capital Management founder and CEO James Dondero testified that he is “insolvent under Texas family law, if not according to normal accounting rules,” despite a 2010 tax return showing his adjusted gross income that year to be in excess of $36 million. The reason his finances were in question was because Dondero filed for divorce in September, and how much he owes his wife Becky is currently in dispute. Becky is “seeking enforcement of a prenuptial agreement guaranteeing her half of the couple’s community property, capped at $5 million,” plus “spousal support and interim attorney fees.” James, perhaps you can glean, is hoping it will be less than that and perhaps even nothing. One thing that really didn’t help?
Patrick Daugherty, a former senior portfolio manager at Highland who quit in October, testified that he met with James Dondero for drinks last month. “He told me his plan was to get his net worth down and pay her as little as possible,” said Daugherty, who was called to the stand by Becky Dondero.
That testimony was given on March 28th. On April 11, this happened:
Highland Capital Management, the $20 billion hedge fund and private equity firm based in Dallas, has launched a lawsuit that calls its former private equity investing chief a “megalomaniacal” manager who engaged in “abusive tirades” that “dehumanized employees.” Patrick Daugherty is the former head of stressed special situations and private equity at Highland Capital Management, where he was responsible for $8 billion of assets until he resigned in September 2011. Known as a blunt-speaking Texan, Daugherty has served on the board of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and as chairman of companies like Cornerstone Health Group.
According to a 14-page complaint Highland filed in Texas state court in Dallas earlier in April, Daugherty has been paid in excess of $26 million while at the firm, but voluntarily resigned after “Highland refused to accede to his unacceptable ultimatums and megalomaniacal demands regarding compensation.” The lawsuit claims that Daugherty was “belligerent to peers” and that Highland employees complained and even quit after Daugherty publicly berated them as “‘f—ing idiots’” and disparaged them using other vulgarities. Highland, which has a reputation in the investment community for using hard-hitting tactics, pulls no punches in a lawsuit that at times can appear cruel. It claims that Daugherty’s tenure at Highland was characterized by extreme behavior and his performance diminished over the years as he “became increasingly unmanageable, erratic, and insubordinate.”
It didn’t have to be this way, Patrick!
What were AIG employees doing in April 2008? Carelessly writing CDS on enormous quantities of mortgage-backed securities and (allegedly) laying the groundwork for being sued over “racist [and sizeist?] taunts,” apparently.
An obese black lawyer filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against insurance giant AIG and an ex-supervisor, saying his white boss yelled out “Hey! Hey! Hey! It’s Fat Albert!” and other racist taunts. Earl Brown, 43, an Ivy league-educated lawyer, claimed in the civil-rights suit that the ex-boss, John Hornbostel, 49, peppered him with racist remarks and cruel jokes about his weight for years before he was canned without cause. “Make sure you grab a bite to eat before this one does! He’s been known to clean out a Danish platter,” Hornbostel yelled about Brown during a meeting in April 2008, the suit claims. Hornbostel then allegedly walked away humming the tune to the “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” animated TV show.
Hornbostel seems to have ended up at a hedge fund post-AIG. It’s unclear if he’s tried out any new material on his new colleagues.
Has the profitability of your company come into question of late? Have you been sued many, many times, typically for sexual harassment? Want to set the record straight but are unsure of what to say? Perhaps Dov Charney can help. In an interview with CNBC today, Charney told Jane Wells that any suggestion that American Apparel can’t turn a profit on its mesh unitards, gold lamé leggings, and fishnet bodysuits is totally off based. “I think you’re casting [the business] in the wrong light to say it’s unprofitable,” Charney said. “From accounting perspective, from 20 feet up, yeah, it’s unprofitable. But if you get down to the numbers…we’re getting our groove back.” There was also this exchange.
Wells: I’ve counted, what is it, nine lawsuits against you? That’s a lot.
Charney: Yeah. It’s also a testimony to my success.
Wells: Do you think you’re inappropriate at all?
Wells: The range of criticism is everything from sexual predator to just…weird.
Charney: Well, you know, I mean, weird? I like weird…Many of the great entrepreneurs of the last century have been criticized for being somewhat different.
Wells: Do you see yourself as a Steve Jobs meets Hugh Hefner type?
Charney: That wouldn’t be for me to say.
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Thousands of former Bear Stearns Cos. (BSC) employees will share a $10 million settlement of lawsuits claiming they lost money on the bank’s stock in their retirement accounts. Two ex-Bear Stearns employees yesterday asked a federal court judge in Manhattan to approve the settlement on behalf of an estimated 8,400 former colleagues. The settlement will resolve class-action suits filed beginning in 2008 against Bear Stearns and other defendants by former employees of the bank. The employees, participants and beneficiaries of Bear Stearns’s employee stock ownership plan who held shares of the bank’s common stock, claimed risky investments in subprime mortgages caused them to lose money.
I’ve had some fun these last few days proposing counterintuitive theories for why Citi might not suck as much as you probably think it does and it’s nice to see others joining in the pastime, even if this sounds a little far-fetched:
The district court’s logic appears to overlook the possibilities (i) that Citigroup might well not consent to settle on a basis that requires it to admit liability, (ii) that the S.E.C. might fail to win a judgment at trial, and (iii) that Citigroup perhaps did not mislead investors.
That piece of rank conjecture is from the Second Circuit’s opinion on an appeal* of Judge Rakoff’s rejection of the settlement between the SEC and Citi over some mortgage-backed securities. Here’s DealBook:
Delaware Chancellor Leo Strine has a bright future in blogging if chancelling doesn’t work out for him. Here’s how he describes Kinder Morgan’s negotiations to buy El Paso, specifically KMI CEO Rich Kinder’s price retrade with EP CEO Doug Foshee:
Kinder said “oops, we made a mistake. We relied on a bullish set of analyst projections in order to make our bid. Our bad. Although we were tough enough to threaten going hostile, we just can’t stand by our bid.”
Instead of telling Kinder where to put his drilling equipment, Foshee backed down.
I umm … I’m pretty sure that that quote from Kinder is approximate.
Anyway, this is from Strine’s opinion refusing to block the KMI-EP merger from proceeding even though he is pretty pissed about some of the apparent conflicts of interest in the deal, including that Goldman Sachs owns almost 20% of KMI while also advising EP, that the lead GS banker owned some KMI stock that he didn’t disclose, and that Foshee negotiated the merger single-handed while also maybe thinking about possibly LBOing EP’s E&P business for his own self.
Lucrative though my current pseudoprofession is, I suspect that if Strine ever leaves the chancelling racket he’d probably prefer to try his hand at merging and/or acquiring. Certainly he is fond of dispensing tactical advice:
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