Thursday, May 9, 2013

You do live on another planet -- evidence from the SEC

It seems that famed hedge fund manager Philip Falcone has, in principle, agreed to terms with the SEC in the case in which he was accused of "manipulating the market, using hedge fund assets to pay his taxes and “secretly” favoring select customers at the expense of others." Not surprisingly, as this is the SEC we're talking about, the agreement included the usual weasel clause letting the defendant admit no guilt. But it gets even better.

If you want evidence that the SEC was really determined to bend over backward on this one, how about the fact that the agreement didn't even include the usual statement, by the defendant, not to commit fraud in the future:
The settlement deal... is also notable for something that it did not include: a common provision that prohibits defendants from committing future violations with fraudulent intent. The lack of a so-called fraud injunction is an unusual victory for the target of an S.E.C. action.    
You may wonder why it even makes sense to include a clause prohibiting a defendant from committing future fraudulent acts, as fraud is already illegal. And just being a citizen essentially means you've agreed to it. Apparently, this clause makes it easier to prosecute future cases (the court can hold the defendant in contempt of court, at least in principle, for violating the law even after telling the court that he wouldn't). But here we have the SEC going to extra lengths not to make Mr. Falcone make such a terrible promise.

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