Doug Whitman is Sorry

Sorry that he is going to prison. Because he certainly doesn't sound—through counsel—like he's sorry about the insider-trading that he was convicted of in August.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Sorry that he is going to prison. Because he certainly doesn't sound—through counsel—like he's sorry about the insider-trading that he was convicted of in August.

“Doug Whitman maintains his innocence and looks forward to vindication on appeal,” David Anderson, another Whitman lawyer, said in a statement.

Whitman had better hope that the judges on the Second Circuit see things differently from Rakoff, who called the evidence against him "quite overwhelming," and who used his sentencing to accuse Whitman of a felony that he was not charged with.

“I think, frankly, he repeatedly perjured himself,” Rakoff said.

Rakoff began his soliloquy by calling Whitman "basically a decent person" before trying to erase any doubt that the former hedge fund manager was quite the opposite. As far as the Honorable Judge Rakoff is concerned, Whitman

was “cavalier and crude in his business dealings even when he wasn’t breaking the law.”

“Mr. Whitman was someone who had no compunctions about going across illegal lines that he was very well aware of and excusing them and even bringing those excuses into the courtroom when that served his interests,” Rakoff said.

Whitman Capital Founder Gets 2 Years for Insider Trading [Bloomberg]
Former Hedge-Fund Manager Is Sentenced [WSJ]

Related

Accused Insider Trader Doug Whitman Made A Halfhearted Attempt At The Faux Sympathy Route In Pumping Depressed Informant For Inside Information

Shortly before losing his patience and wondering aloud what the hell she was good for if not bringing him hot tips. FBI informant Roomy Khan, 53, told jury that she gleaned illegal tips on Polycom’s earnings from Sunil Bhalla, a former Polycom exec who was placed on leave in 2009. She then passed those tips to Whitman [Capital founder Doug Whitman] and a handful of other hedgie pals, including convicted Galleon Group co-founder Raj Rajaratnam and her bosses at Trivium Capital Management...“You know what would make you feel better?” Whitman asked Khan when she started complaining about her lot in life. “Calling Sunil and getting a good call on Polycom and being able to short it.” “Yeah, but I could go to jail for doing that, too,” Khan said. “You’re not going to be a slimeball, what do I want to talk to you for,” Whitman said. Roomy Not Slimy [NYP]

The Ballad of Roomy Khan

Life is terribly unfair. You help bring down Raj Rajaratnam and get yelled at by a defense lawyer during another insider-trading trial, but you tell a few white lies, destroy some evidence, warn some of your friends—including the only fugitive in the whole insider-trading crackdown—that the Feds are on to them and perjure yourself a little, and you don't get to get away with your second insider-trading conviction.

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:

Ex-SAC Analyst Spared Prison, Still Faces The Wrath of Cohen

Take note, insider-traders and those who might be accused of it in spite of their innocence: If you wear a wire and you don't have to go to jail. Wesley Wang, the former SAC analyst who helped convict one former boss and is probably helping to build cases against his bosses at SAC and Trellus Management, will get to keep doing so from the comfort of his northern California home.

David Einhorn Said No To A Capital Raise, Kept The Door Open For A Pub Crawl

Remember how David Einhorn got in trouble in England for insider trading on Punch Taverns stock and he was all "what?" and we were all "what?"? Well, you can judge it for yourself because now the entire disputed call with Punch is available online (at the back of this). So go read it, or read the highlights here. The FSA still thinks it's insider trading, but the count of people confused by the whole thing is rising, and now includes the Merrill banker on the call. There's lots of insider traderiness on this side of the pond today too so we should talk about that in a bit. For now, though, two other things. One is quick - no one can resist one part of the call and I can't either so here it is: DAVID EINHORN: Hi, I’m sorry I didn’t get to see you when you were in New York. PUNCH CEO: No, no, we -- well, we’ve -- we’ve only had the chance to speak once, although we have seen [reference to Greenlight Analyst] a few times since then. DAVID EINHORN: Oh, you’re -- you’re -- you’re getting more than -- than I could help with anyway. So, this is good. PUNCH CEO: Okay. That’s fair enough. Well, one day we’ll get you around on a pub crawl around some English pubs. DAVID EINHORN: Oh, that sounds fun. PUNCH CEO: It is. You’re right. English readers: Is it? I just assumed that Punch Taverns are rather grim places, like TGI Friday's but with more ... punching? ... but maybe I'm totally off base here. Also, here is a hypothesis: vice investments do well because, for the same level of profitability, they get more analyst/investor coverage and enthusiasm. Wouldn't you rather go on a pub crawl instead of like a tour of an auto parts factory in Queens? Would that influence your stock recommendations / money allocations? Someone should do a study.