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SEC AssassinationMadoff Congressional Hearings Liveblogged

It's Harry versus the SEC this morning, and there aren't a lot of pulled punches.
Harry: I think the losses in Europe will be bigger. The European losses are often on unreported income and won't likely be part of the history of the scam.
Harry: It took just a couple weeks for me to lose confidence in the New York Office of the SEC.
Harry: "In Wall Street there is a code of silence and when you live in a glass house you do not throw stones."
Oh boy.
Is there a secret blacklist of fraudsters that the Wall Street code-of-silence keeps secret? Is there a list of these malefactors? (A more blatant attempt to justify subpoena power I have not lately seen).
Harry: Yep.
The secret cabal of fraud protectors. Wow.
Isn't handing over documents wearing gloves [to avoid leaving fingerprints] a bit paranoid:
Harry: When Madoff attracts Russian mob money and drug cartel money, and with such a large fraud, I didn't expect to be long for this world if my name got out.
Harry: Disband the SEC, zero out their budget and invest in the state regulators that, pitbull like, do more with less than the SEC.
What could be done to reform the SEC?
Harry: Put in experienced professionals. Give them Bloomberg. (They currently share one terminal per regional office).
What about auditing? What about rotating auditors?
Harry: SEC Auditors are not trained in human intelligence gathering. They come in, sit down, and are fed controlled pieces of paper. They need to be talking to everyone and interacting.
Should we (Lincoln Act like) give bounties for financial whistle blowers?
Harry: You bet.
Harry: We've had "zero enforcement" for the last 8 years.
Harry: I gave the SEC a drawing, a roadmap, pictures and a flashlight and they still couldn't find anything.
Is Mr. Madoff confined right now?
Harry: Yes, he's under Penthouse arrest.
We need thousands more like you out there.
Harry: Thank you.
You were dealing with a ruthless person, in bed with other ruthless people. These kind of characters are sure to make you concerned for your life. The American people need to know who you are! You aren't a person off the street. You have credentials, baby! Won't you please share some of your credentials with the public?
Harry: CFA, CFE, MSF, BA, CIO, Major in the Army, Reservist, in Special Operations....
(Not bad!)
Harry: The regulators need to earn their paycheck and the SEC needs to be swept with a very wide broom.
Who do you want to play you in the movie?
Harry: As long as it is a Red Sox fan.
Harry: Fairfield Sentry was getting $280 million a year in fees from Madoff.
Is it better to be corrupt (FINRA) or incompetent (SEC)?
Harry: FINRA gets an A+ for corruption and the SEC gets an A+ for incompetence.
Are you sure there is a Russian mob and organized crime connection?
Harry: We knew because of the offshore funds. The only reason to be offshore is to hide dirty money. Madoff's success made it almost a sure bet there was dirty money in there.
This is the quote of the day:
Harry: To all the Russian mobsters and drug cartels out there, I am one of the good guys. I was looking out for your accounts. Just keep that in mind.
Sorry, I was wrong, this is:
Harry: If you flew the entire SEC staff to Boston, and sat them down in Fenway Park for the day, they wouldn't be able to find first base.


After The STOCK Act It Will Still Be Legal To Trade On Congressional Inside Information*

Here's a sort of touching monologue from David Einhorn's call with Punch: If you’ve done the analysis, and come to the conclusion that on it’s own, the company is not going to make it, it makes all of the sense in the world to raise equity at whatever the price is, so that you can know that the company, you know, is – is going to make it. Now, what that brings to my mind though is, you know, obviously we haven’t done your analysis, we haven’t done -- signed an NDA; I don’t know that we’re going to sign an NDA, because we prefer to just remain investors, but from my perspective, and I’ll be just straight up with you, is that gives a lot of signalling value. And the signalling value that comes from figuring out the company has figured out that it’s not going to make it on it’s own is that we’ve just grossly misassessed the -- you know what’s going on here. And -- and that, that will cause us to have to just reconsider what we’re doing, which is not the end of the world to you. You will continue on even if we don’t continue on with you. You could sort of see why the FSA read that to mean that he was insider trading. Like ... (1) You have told me something with signalling value. Sorry - "a lot of signalling value." (2) I will now act on that signal. (3) Don't be mad. "Signalling value" sure sounds like it means "material nonpublic information," doesn't it? Now as we've discussed before, trading on that information would not be enough to make Einhorn guilty of insider trading in the US, though maybe it wouldn't be exactly a great idea here either. Why? Because in our weird but sort of sensible insider trading laws, it's just not illegal to trade on material nonpublic information. It's only illegal to trade based on material nonpublic information that was obtained in violation of some sort of duty of confidence. Since Einhorn didn't sign an NDA, he had no duty of confidence. And since the Punch CEO and bankers weren't tipping him for nefarious purposes, but were instead sounding him out on the company's behalf as a shareholder and potential investor in a new capital raise, they weren't breaching their duty of confidence. You could quibble with the details of that but it's basically the law here. In England not so much. That also seems to be the law for our friends in Congress, who recently passed a law making it illegal for them to insider trade, which is worrying some people who make their living from trading on Congressional inside information:


Lawmakers Urge SEC To Propose Mandatory Cybersecurity Reporting Rules

"America’s economic prosperity is linked to strong cybersecurity defenses in the private sector," the letter says.