Opening Bell: 12.18.15

Hedge fund carnage; More Martin Shkreli; Dominique Strauss-Kahn has a 5 year-old love child; Large snake takes weekend ride on MTA bus; and more.
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Martin Shkreli Accused of Being Surprisingly Good at Fraud (BloombergView / Matt Levine)
I can't shake my sense of amazement that Shkreli seems to have gambled on redemption and won. If you believe the allegations in today's indictment, he lost (or stole) all of his investors' money, then lied to them to string them along, Ponzied it up by raising new money to keep them happy, and then finally found an investment that allowed him to pay off his earlier investors, with profits all around. He wasn't caught because his scheme, like most such schemes, eventually crashed under its own weight.

Lawyer Linked to Shkreli Arrested on Fraud Charge (WSJ)
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Greebel helped Mr. Shkreli devise schemes to reimburse ​some ​personal creditors with money and stock from Retrophin Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company ​Mr. Shkreli founded in 2011. The creditors were individuals who’d invested in separate hedge funds started by Mr. Shkreli years earlier. At the time of the alleged wrongdoing, from 2012 to 2013, Mr. Greebel was a partner at another well-regarded law firm, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. He moved to Kaye Scholer in July.

Hedge-Fund Casualties Jump to 257 in Third Quarter Amid Rout (Bloomberg)
The number of funds liquidated climbed to 257, up from 200 in the previous three months, according to a report from Hedge Fund Research Inc. on Friday, and taking total closures in the first nine months to 674, compared with 661 during the same period last year. Cargill Inc.’s Black River Asset Management shut four units, while Armajaro Asset Management LLP also closed one of its funds.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s 5-year-old ‘love child’ (NYP)
Philandering Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn in is more hot water for his sexual escapades — he allegedly has a 5-year-old love child born while he still had ambitions to become president of France and was head of the International Monetary Fund. The bombshell was revealed in a Paris courtroom when the child’s unnamed 45-year-old mother requested about $8,672 a month in support payments from DSK, after allegedly trying unsuccessfully to get him to pay up for a year and a half.

C-SPAN crank-caller asks to defecate in congressman’s mouth (NYDN)
A crank-caller punked Thursday’s edition of C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, asking Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) about a year-end spending bill and then wondering if he could defecate in the Congressman’s mouth. The caller, who identified himself as a Democrat from Utah named “Glen,” said he had two questions for the congressman: “My question is, we’re spending all this money, where are we getting the money from? And my second question is if I can sh-- in your mouth?” The show’s host John McArdle apologized to Brat. “We don’t take that kind of language here on the Washington Journal.”

Some Rates Decline Despite Fed’s Move (WSJ)
It is a conundrum that Fed officials have grappled with for months leading up to the decision to end seven years of near-zero rates. While the Fed can orchestrate a rise in its overnight target rate, buying and selling by investors worldwide largely dictate the movement of yields in the $12.8 trillion Treasury market, a forum that effectively sets the borrowing rates for everything from mortgages to corporate loans.

The No-Lose Bet for Banks in IPOs (WSJ)
Here is a deal for banks working on IPOs: Price the new stock high, get a bigger fee. Price it low, get free shares of the company. That is the position Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. found themselves in as advisers in Square Inc.’s closely watched initial public offering.

Ukraine Defaults on $3 Billion Bond to Russia (Bloomberg)
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Kiev is imposing a moratorium on the note due Dec. 20, which Russian President Vladimir Putin bought two years ago to bail out Ukraine’s former president just months before he was toppled. Russia said as recently as last week it would take Ukraine to court if the payment was missed.

Large snake takes weekend ride on MTA bus in Brooklyn (NYDN)
A large snake, possibly a ball python, took a weekend ride on an MTA bus in Brooklyn. The slithering passenger was seen riding the B12 bus at East New York and Saratoga Aves. Shortly after 1 p.m. Saturday. A photo on social media showed it crawling along the edge of a window. Snake — on a bus! The slithering passenger was seen riding the B12 bus at East New York and Saratoga Aves. MTA workers removed the snake at about 1:20 p.m., according to MTA officials. “No customers on board, snake was removed to an undisclosed location,” an MTA spokesman said Thursday in an e-mailed statement.

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