Breakingviews

Overreaching enforcers redraw insider trading line

December 11, 2014

A U.S. court tossed convictions of two hedge fund managers, sharply narrowing the law on improper dealings. Prosecutors should expect more embarrassing reversals. The silver lining is that the ruling gives Wall Street clarity on what’s forbidden and should curb government excesses.

Steve Cohen’s loot could land in undeserving hands

November 11, 2014

A $600 mln insider trading settlement with his SAC hedge fund will probably go to investors on the other side of its dodgy deals. Better them than Uncle Sam. But the real victims were drug firms whose data SAC’s trader stole. U.S. watchdogs miss the mark in allotting fine proceeds.

Maybe SAC should forget about other people’s money

March 15, 2013

Steve Cohen’s $15 bln hedge fund firm is paying $616 mln to settle SEC insider trading charges. It would be an ignominious time to follow legends like Stan Druckenmiller, but he is already losing a quarter of outside investor funds. It could be time to manage only his own cash.

SAC investors set to stew alongside founder Cohen

November 28, 2012

The $14 bln hedge fund received notice that the SEC may take civil action against it. Those with money at SAC need to weigh the risk. The law moves slowly, but so does the redemption process - it would take investors months to withdraw cash. And they’d risk never getting back in.

One crime in SAC probe is letting snitch go free

November 27, 2012

An ex-trader at Steve Cohen’s hedge fund firm faces criminal insider-trading charges. But the doctor who allegedly gave him secret data won’t, after agreeing to help prosecutors. Flipping suspects to land bigger game is standard. Going easy on serious wrongdoing shouldn’t be.

Enforcers keep on casting for biggest SAC fish

November 20, 2012

The feds hit Mathew Martoma, an ex-trader at Steve Cohen’s hedge fund firm, with criminal and civil insider trading complaints. They say he directly urged his boss to trade, helping make $276 mln. But if they hope Martoma can assist them in landing Cohen, they’ll need to deal.

China’s insider culture stains CNOOC foreign bid

July 30, 2012

The Chinese oil producer’s $15bn bid for the Canadian Nexen isn’t directly threatened by the U.S. SEC insider trading complaint against a billionaire close to CNOOC. But the case will fortify critics who say that China has a long way to go before it can play by global rules.

Japan needs more than apologies on insider trades

June 22, 2012

Handing a $6 bln privatization to Nomura’s rivals after the bank apologized for leaking earlier share sales seemed like a government rebuke. But Nomura probably lost fair and square. Either way, Tokyo needs to make leaks illegal and trying to profit on them much more painful.

Buffett steals insider-trading show in absentia

May 29, 2012

The Berkshire Hathaway chairman didn’t appear in a New York courtroom last week. But his presence loomed over Raj Gupta’s insider-trading trial in more ways than one and dredged up the still-unsettled role his former lieutenant David Sokol played in last year’s Lubrizol deal.

Brazilian billionaire banker tests investor mettle

April 16, 2012

Just days ahead of an IPO of his BTG Pactual, Andre Esteves has been fined for insider trading by Italian watchdogs. The firm shrugged off the case and says the boss will appeal. But JPMorgan’s Ian Hannam resigned to fight similar charges. The risks look big for this high-flyer.