Felix Salmon

The long arm of the Google

February 20, 2013

Is Google becoming a key arm of the law-enforcement complex? It certainly seems to be so with respect to art thefts. I first came across this idea back in November, when Bloomberg Markets profiled Jeff Gundlach, who was hit by art thieves in September:

How to get $12 billion of gold to Venezuela

August 23, 2011

Ever since the news broke last week that Hugo Chávez wanted to transport 211 tons of physical gold from Europe to Caracas, I’ve been wondering how on earth he possibly intends to do such a thing.

Adventures with CNBC anchors’ statistics

May 20, 2011

CNBC’s Joe Kernen reports the news in the morning in a fast-paced environment where it’s difficult to be 100% accurate. If you write a book, by contrast, you have the time to make sure you get things right. So it’s good to see that now Kernen is plugging his book, he has no time for baseless factoids. Oh, who am I kidding:

Vericrest Financial: homicidally otiose

April 29, 2011

We’ve heard a fair amount about the human toll of the subprime crisis — although, frankly, not enough. So this story deserves wide play: Manuel Lopez and Christina Garcia, and their 12-year-old son Christian Garcia, died in a grisly fire Monday morning, because the building they lived in was full of illegally built walls which blocked access to the fire escape. Who was responsible for looking after the building and making sure it was up to code? The message I get from the NYT‘s Jim Dwyer is that it’s a Dallas company called Vericrest Financial.

McKinsey’s corrupted culture

March 10, 2011

John Gapper makes a good point: management consultants in general, and McKinsey consultants in particular, have made their entire business out of exploiting the moral grey zone surrounding confidential information.

Why isn’t Rajat Gupta facing criminal charges?

March 8, 2011

Andrew Ross Sorkin examines the weirdnesses surrounding the Rajat Gupta case today, and comes to the conclusion that the government “appears” not to have recorded any of Gupta’s phone calls after all. That’s a reversal from what things looked like on Friday, but the one thing we can be sure of in this case is that the whole thing is very murky.

The Gupta-Rajaratnam tapes

March 7, 2011

I missed this on Friday:

Prosecutors intend to introduce audiotapes showing that Rajaratnam got inside tips from his friend Rajat Gupta…

Be careful who you show off to, Rajat Gupta edition

March 1, 2011

John Carney asks why Rajat Gupta might have done what he’s accused of doing:

Gupta ran McKinsey. He sat on the board of Goldman. He is the ultimate insider.

One of the reasons we rarely see insider trading charges against people who have the stature and wealth against Gupta is that insider trading makes so little logical sense for such people. There’s really no reason Gupta should leak confidential information to a hedge fund manager. He doesn’t need money, access, prestige or any favors at all.

When Goldman’s board meetings leaked

March 1, 2011

Back in April of last year, I was indignantly informed by Rajat Gupta’s PR people that he wasn’t being investigated by the SEC, just examined. “This is an important distinction,” they told me. Well, it seems that either the examination subsequently turned into an investigation, or else that the distinction wasn’t that important after all: