Web Watch: Best Blog Posts and Columns For the Week Ending Nov. 13, 2009

binoculars230x184 Here is the weekly summary for Securities Docket’s Web Watch (”This Week’s Best Blog Posts and Columns”):

An FCPA Triangle (FCPA Professor)
FCPA Professor | November 13, 2009
First it was the company – Willsbros Group Inc. Then, it was the company’s employees. Finally, it is the company’s consultant. An FCPA triangle of sorts. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an FCPA square because, as has been noted in previous posts, the final piece of the puzzle … the “foreign official” will not be happening anytime soon as the FCPA only applies to the “briber-giver” not the “bribe-taker.”

One of the Biggest Pay-to-Play Deals Is Little Known (Edward Siedle) WSJ
The Wall Street Journal | November 13, 2009
The amount of fees paid by plaintiffs firms to local fund lawyers are largely undisclosed to public-pension boards. In my 25 years of public pension experience I have never met a public-pension board member who had even the vaguest understanding of the massive referral fees local fund counsels receive. These board members would be shocked to find that their local fund counsel earned more for recommending class actions than from hourly billings for providing advice to the fund.

Bear Stearns Loss Echoes Long Line of U.S. Prosecution Defeats (Bloomberg)
Bloomberg News | November 12, 2009
The acquittals of two Bear Stearns Cos. hedge-fund managers in a test trial for prosecutions linked to the subprime crisis echo a long line of high-profile financial cases that blew up in the government’s face.

Frederic Bourke’s Big Bet (The FCPA Blog)
The FCPA Blog | November 12, 2009
Why was Bourke shocked by the verdict? Because he had good facts and good law and good lawyers. He didn’t pay any bribes himself; he was one of Viktor Kozeny’s victims; he’d blown the whistle on Kozeny’s fraud and testified to a state grand jury that indicted Kozeny; he thought he’d have the local law defense (he didn’t; Judge Scheindlin ruled against it); George Mitchell was his friend, co-investor and character witness; he had smart, active lawyers, and so on. So let’s face it. As a defendant, Bourke had a lot going for him. That’s why he was shocked by the verdict.

White-Collar Defendants: Sit Down and Shut Up (The Big Money)
The Big Money | November 12, 2009
How the prosecutors must have wished to have a go at Ralph Cioffi in the flesh! If only Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, the two Bear Stearns fund managers acquitted yesterday of insider trading and other charges, had had the gall to take the stand in their own defenses and to submit to what the Feds must have hoped would be a withering cross-examination. Well, no such luck.

Why Insider Trading Is Hard to Define, Prove and Prevent (Knowledge@Wharton)
Knowledge@Wharton | November 11, 2009
Aside from being the most sensational insider trading case of recent years, and the biggest ever to involve a hedge fund, the Galleon case raises questions about what exactly constitutes insider trading at a time when so many market participants, such as hedge funds and other opaque investment pools, live or die on their ability to gather information that competitors don’t have. Regulations on insider trading have gradually tightened over the years in the U.S. and many other countries, but some economists argue for a complete course reversal, making insider trading legal.

The Lawyers Go After Buffett (Daniel Fisher, Forbes)
Forbes | November 11, 2009
Securities-litigation reform laws were supposed to end the race to the courthouse, an unseemly practice designed to win control over litigation by being the first to file. But when a takeover is announced, it’s business as usual. With a speed that stretches the bounds of credulity, lawyers file suits soon after a takeover is announced in hopes of settling the case for a generous fee.

Feds now using anti-mob tactics on Wall Street (Robert Mintz, Star-Ledger)
Star-Ledger | November 11, 2009
The arrests in October and last week should leave no doubt that the law enforcement techniques that had for years been reserved for mob bosses and drug kingpins are now being used to bring down Wall Street hot shots. Wiretaps, long the darling of organized crime prosecutors who used them against the mob, have now been unleashed for the first time on Wall Street.

You Can’t Make Me (Securities Litigation Watch)
Securities Litigation Watch | November 10, 2009
What to do when a federal judge appoints you as lead plaintiff, but another lead plaintiff movant’s attorney as lead counsel? You ask the Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus, of course.

Why It’s Wrong When Wrongdoers Are Allowed to Admit No Wrongdoing (Arianna Huffington, HuffPo)
The Huffington Post | November 9, 2009
In the Bank of America case, the hero is U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff. Instead of rubber-stamping the BofA/SEC settlement as everybody expected, Judge Rakoff refused to sign off on the deal, which he called a breach of “justice and morality” that “suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties.” And Judge Rakoff demanded to know who exactly were the executives who knew about the bonuses and decided not to disclose them. Instead of a faceless company, shouldn’t the culpability, Rakoff asked at a hearing, be on “the individuals who were responsible?”

Regulating Wall Street Like Las Vegas: Yes We Can (Jake Zamansky, Seeking Alpha)
Seeking Alpha | November 9, 2009
What is needed on Wall Street is a suitability rule to determine who is qualified to work in the securities business. Demonstrating character should be a major criterion and repeated SEC and other regulatory violations should be grounds for a permanent ban. I appreciate that a character standard would forever bar countless Wall Street executives, but we need to dramatically raise the securities industry’s admission bar to facilitate meaningful change and ensure a level investor playing field.