Critics See Overreach in Prosecutors’ Insider-Trading PushPicking at Prosecutors’ Push (WSJ)
In the wake of Wednesday’s ruling, parties on both sides of the issue were sifting through the fallout and advocating their positions. Defense lawyers smarting from five years’ worth of defeats were seizing on the ruling as the final verdict of prosecutorial overreach. Lawyer Ross Albert of Morris Manning & Martin, who has worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the ruling brings back “some needed balance to insider-trading law.” On the other side are alumni of the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office who said some of the judges’ admonishments weren’t fair. The hardest cases were saved for last, and there was always a chance of defeat. That prospect, however, wasn’t reason to avoid going to trial, they said. “When you get to the end of a series of prosecutions like these, the ones at the end are not as core and easy as the ones at the beginning,” said Jonathan Streeter, who prosecuted Raj Rajaratnam and is now a partner at Dechert LLP. Both sides agree the ruling will make insider-trading prosecutions tougher going forward. The court said prosecutors must prove traders knew that the person who provided an inside tip gained some sort of tangible reward for doing so.
Some Accused of Insider Trading May Rethink Their Guilty Pleas (Dealbook)
In legal circles it is seen as likely that the ruling will mean that Michael Steinberg, a former portfolio manager at SAC Capital Advisors, will have his conviction overturned because he traded on the same information that did not constitute an illegal tip for Mr. Chiasson and Mr. Newman. Several others who pleaded guilty and testified as cooperating witnesses in the trials of Mr. Chiasson, Mr. Newman and Mr. Steinberg may also seek to withdraw their pleas, since they implicitly pleaded guilty to something that was not a crime, according to the appellate court ruling. (Mr. Steinberg remains free pending an appeal.) Roland Riopelle, the lawyer for Danny Kuo, a former analyst who pleaded guilty to insider trading and cooperated with the government in its investigation of Mr. Chiasson and Mr. Newman, said he has contacted prosecutors in the wake of the appellate ruling.
House Narrowly Passes Bill to Avoid Shutdown; $1.1 Trillion in Spending (NYT)
The House on Thursday narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion spending package that would fund most government operations for the fiscal year after a rancorous debate that reflected the new power held by Republicans and the disarray among Democrats in the aftermath of the midterm elections. The accord was reached in a 219-206 vote amid last-minute brinkmanship and bickering that has come to mark one of the capital’s most polarized eras. The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it in the coming days. The split in the Democratic Party dramatically came into view when Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader and one of President Obama’s most loyal supporters, broke with the administration over a provision in the bill that would roll back regulation of the Dodd-Frank Act, which Ms. Pelosi said was a giveaway to big banks whose practices helped fuel the Great Recession. She spoke on the House floor in the early afternoon, asking Democrats not to vote for the bill.
Corporate Germany Set for Gender Revolution (WSJ)
Corporate Germany is on the cusp of a gender revolution after Chancellor Angela Merkel ’s government adopted a bill on Thursday that will dramatically increase the number of women in the top echelons of the country’s mightiest corporations. The bill, which is now moving to Parliament for final approval, will require large listed companies to fill 30% of their supervisory board seats with female nonexecutive directors and force thousands of large and midsize businesses to set binding targets for women top managers.
Man has 8 minutes to convince prostitutes to quit in new reality show (EW)
A&E has greenlit a provocative new reality series in which a man tries to convince prostitutes to quit their jobs. EW has learned exclusively that the network has ordered eight episodes of 8 Minutes (working title), a series featuring cop-turned-pastor Kevin Brown surprising escorts in hotel rooms and offering to rescue them from a life of trading sex for cash. In each episode, Brown has eight minutes to make his case. Executive producer Tom Forman (Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Great Food Truck Race) says the show was inspired by a 2013 LA Times article about Brown, an Orange County vice cop turned pastor who teamed with his church to create an undercover prostitute intervention operation.
High-Yield Bond Funds See $1.9 Billion Outflow in Latest Week (WSJ)
The outflow is the largest weekly decline since the $2.3 billion withdrawal registered in the week ended Oct. 1, and follows $859 million that flowed out the week ended Dec. 3, according to fund tracker Lipper. Tremors from the slide in oil prices that initially hit energy bonds are now being felt across the broader $1.3 trillion junk-bond market, investors and analysts said, causing hesitation among would-be buyers and a hurried reshuffling of bond portfolios as funds look to raise cash to meet redemptions. “Everyone is just selling,” said Lane Britain, managing director at PetroCap, an oil-and-gas fund owned by Highland Capital Management.
Mark Zuckerberg's 2015 New Year's resolution (CNBC)
Zuckerberg said he has yet to come up his 2015 New Year's resolution. "It's too early!" Zuckerberg jokingly exclaimed, with 20 days still remaining in 2014. He said his past New Year's resolutions include cooking more ("it was fun") and learning Mandarin ("it was really hard…my wife tells me all the time that I'm bad at English"). His 2014 resolution was to write one note of thanks each day, which Zuckerberg admitted has been a difficult task. Why? He explained that there are two types of people in the world: those who see the beauty in things and those who want to make those things better. "I'm from the latter," he said, adding that his management team tends to laugh at him when he looks to improve people's actions rather than thank them for a job well done.
Schwarzman Says Energy Is Best Opportunity in Many Years (Bloomberg)
Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman of Blackstone Group LP (BX), said now is the best time in many years to invest in energy. “There are a lot of people who borrowed a lot of money based on higher price levels and they’re going to need more capital,” Schwarzman said today at a conference sponsored by the New York Times’ DealBook. “There are going to be restructurings to do. There’s going to be a fallout. It’s going to be one of the best opportunities we’ve had in many, many years.”
Wilbur. Dr Doom. The Hedge Fund Manager Who Loves To Grab Asses (DB)
Dealbreaker Dramatic Reading Night Part IV: December 17th.
Drunk Woman Steals Idling Taxi in Greenwich Village, Police Say (DNAI)
A drunk woman jumped into the driver's seat of a yellow taxi and took off as the stunned driver stood nearby, police said. Elizabeth Otero, 28, who does not have a driver's license, slipped into the idling 2014 Toyota Camry at East 12th Street and Fifth Avenue at 3:53 a.m. on Dec. 7, police said. A police officer tracked the cab using the taxi company’s GPS system and found Otero a mile and a half away, in front of 90 Mercer St., police said. Otero was still sitting in the driver's seat with the engine running when police discovered her. She was slurring her words and her breath smelled of alcohol, police said. Police said she was given a breathalyzer test about 6:10 a.m. and that her blood-alcohol content was .229 percent, or nearly three times the legal limit.