Winifred Jiau, a former consultant with expert networking firm Primary Global Research LLC, lost a post-trial bid to overturn her convictions on charges related to insider-trading. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied Jiau’s motion for an acquittal or a new trial in federal court in Manhattan, where she was convicted June 20 of conspiracy and securities fraud. The jury found her guilty of passing information regarding earnings and other matters on Nvidia Corp. (NVDA) and Marvell Technology Group Ltd. to hedge fund managers Noah Freeman, a former SAC Capital Advisors LP portfolio manager, and Samir Barai, founder of New York-based Barai Capital Management LP. Jiau, of Fremont, California, faces as long as 25 years in prison when she is sentenced by Rakoff. [Bloomberg, earlier]

One major focus of the Feds’ insider trading cases du jour is the use of expert networks by hedge fund managers, and whether or not the information is “too” good (the government is of the opinion that it is). While a whole bunch of employees with various expert networks have been charged, one stands out as the leader in the field- Primary Global’s Winifred Jiau, who is the woman you wanted to get in good with if you were looking to (allegedly) trade on material non-public information. Jiau seems to have worked with everyone who’s been accused of insider trading (Donald Longueuil, Noah Freeman, the Goffer brothers and so on and so forth) and presumably had a waiting list for her tips. According to Assistant US Attorney David Leibowitz’s opening statement yesterday, Jiau’s information was “precise to the decimal point,” and even created her own code to discuss such info so that no one would ever catch on to what she and her clients were discussing, should their conversations be tapped.

Leibowitz said Jiau spoke in code, demanding payments for the information, which she called “sugar,” and describing her sources as “cooks” and referring to tips as “recipes.”

For example, if you’d been reading over Jiau’s shoulder on June 3, 2008, you would’ve seen the following IM and while perhaps felt a pang of hunger, been none the wiser: Read more »

  • 05 Nov 2010 at 11:35 AM

Sugar and Fat-laden Food Eating Challenge: Under Way

We haven’t chronicled a food eating challenge in a while but in honor of Julian Robertson’s recently announced bid for the yet uncreated role of Obesity Czar, it’s only fitting we do so today. Although neither the volume nor the time allotment are in anyway difficult (50 items, 45 minutes) but the concept (the challenger must alternate Chicken McNuggets with Munchkins) appears somewhat disgusting. And, it’s Robertson-approved, as it would make him a decent amount of coin based on his proposed “fat tax” and “sugar tax.” Here what we know about he participant: Read more »

  • 26 May 2009 at 12:56 PM

Sugar So Sweet

Sarad Pawar_PIB.jpgHaving set the clear example that markets are to blame for the evils of commodity price inflation, the United States is beginning to find companions in the membership list of the Market Lockdown Club.

India banned futures trading in sugar, a day after Farm Minister Sharad Pawar said the government may extend a program allowing duty-free imports of raw sugar to bolster local supplies.
The ban will remain until Dec. 31, Forward Markets Commission spokesman Anupam Mishra said today, without giving a reason for the move. While existing contracts will remain valid, new contracts won’t be allowed, he said in a telephone interview today from Mumbai.
Sugar prices have risen 3 percent on Mumbai’s National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange since April 20, when N. Sanyal, joint secretary at the food ministry, said futures trading may be halted if prices continue to rise. The increase in prices is not related to futures trading, analyst Amol Tilak said.

They love free markets. Except when they don’t.
India Bans Sugar Futures Trade With Immediate Effect [Bloomberg]