A Towering Fine for Naught, as the S.E.C. Tracks Cohen – DealBook

“We’re willing to pay $600 million because we have a business to run and don’t want this hanging over our heads with litigation that could last for years.” That’s what Steven A. Cohen’s lawyer told a judge just four months ago to justify why Mr. Cohen had agreed to pay $616 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle civil accusations that his firm was involved in insider trading without admitting or denying guilt.

If that explanation sounded like a payoff — “buying off the U.S. government” is the way John Cassidy of The New Yorker put it at the time — that’s because, with hindsight, that’s what it was.

But it didn’t work.

via A Towering Fine for Naught, as the S.E.C. Tracks Cohen – DealBook