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Cioffi: My investors? What investors?

Ralph Cioffi, the indicted former Bear Stearns hedge fund manager, is trying again to get an insider trading charge dismissed in advance of his upcoming criminal trial. 

And this time his lawyer’s have come up with an interesting legal argument, which essentially is that a “hedge fund manager owes no fiduciary duty to its investors.” Rather, a hedge fund manager’s “fiduciary duty runs only to the hedge fund itself.”

Using this bit of twisted logic, Cioffi’s lawyers contend their client didn’t commit insider trading by secretly pulling some of his money out of the Bear funds before they collapsed because he had no duty to tell the investors he was making the withdrawl.

I’ve never been convinced that the insider trading charge against Cioffi is a strong one. But that’s because Cioffi didn’t pull all of his money out of the fund–only some of it.

Ralph Cioffi faces the music

We’re just three months away from the criminal trial of former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin and federal prosecutors have just produced a witness list.

Sadly, there are no big marquee names on the list of 32 people, who are scheduled to take the stand and raise their right hands in a Brooklyn, NY federal courtroom. If you were expecting to hear from former Bear CEO James Cayne, don’t adjust your work schedule to take time off.  Warren Spector, Bear’s former president, who Cayne fired a few weeks after the Bear funds collapsed in the summer of 2007, also doesn’t make the grade.