Opening Bell: 03.26.10

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Big Banks Suspected In Muni Case (WSJ)
More than a dozen banks and investment firms are suspected co-conspirators in a criminal probe by the Justice Department's Antitrust Division into alleged bid rigging and price fixing in the municipal derivatives market, according to a court filing. The banks and investment firms include units of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., UBS AG, Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp., General Electric Co. and Societe Generale. None of the alleged co-conspirators have been accused of criminal wrongdoing.

Man Sounds Out US Hedge Funds (FT)
Man Group, the London-based hedge fund, has approached several of the US’s largest hedge fund managers with an eye to expanding its operations in the country. Peter Clarke, chief executive of the FTSE-listed company, which has $40bn under management, has begun making regular trips to the US to sound out hedge funds for possible distribution agreements or takeovers. Among those Mr Clarke has met are SAC Capital and Millennium Partners

FSA Suspect Denies Allegations (WSJ)
Moore Capital's Julian Rafit issued a statement Friday in which he "denies the allegations that have been made against him," according to his legal counsel. Mr. Rifat "is deeply distressed by the accusation and is working to clear his name as soon as possible."

Ex-Cazenove, UBS Workers Said to Face Insider Charges (Bloomberg)
Gird your loins: As many as 11 people may be charged next week over an insider-trading ring that began at the London printers for UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Cazenove unit, four people with direct knowledge of the case said.

Goldman Joins Race for $10 Billion Polish Asset Sales (Bloomberg)
Goldman, based in New York, is seeking to open a branch office in Warsaw, spokeswoman Monika Schaller said yesterday.

Treasury Planning Citi Stake Sale (Reuters)
The Treasury "could unveil a preset trading plan next month for the sale of its 27 percent stake in Citi."

Pasture Land For Plainfield (NYP)
Amid a slew of redemption requests and a wave of lawsuits, the hedge fund founded by Drexel Burnham alum Max Holmes is packing up its posh offices in Greenwich, Conn., and moving into its disaster-recovery offices in nearby Stamford, Conn., sources told The Post. Plainfield's assets have fallen to $3.3 billion from a peak of $5 billion, and the fund will have around $500 million left in its coffers after it returns money to its investors. "He can't afford it," said one employee at Plainfield's Greenwich location, referring to Holmes. Holmes plans to wind down the illiquid portfolio and "start over again" with the $500 million, the employee said.

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