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April 23, 2014

US judges review central element of insider trading law

“A US prosecutor barely started her argument to defend an insider trading conviction when judges on a US appeals court stopped her in her tracks.”

“They wanted to know if the government had shopped a case until it landed before a judge who saw the insider trading law the way prosecutors had interpreted it: a trader could be found guilty by trading on confidential information if he knew it had been obtained in breach of a duty to keep it confidential.”

“Five other jurists in the courthouse overseeing other insider trading cases had previously ruled – without government objection – that the trader also needed to know that the company insider had received a personal benefit for sharing the secret information.”

“It looks like the government is taking completely inconsistent views on a critical point of law,” said Judge Barrington Parker, adding: “I’m concerned that the government’s position on key [points] of the law seems to be varied depending on what judge you’re talking to.”

“The opening salvo set the tone for a series of targeted and at times rapid-fire questioning of Antonia Apps, a prosecutor with the US attorney’s office in Manhattan over the convictions of Anthony Chiasson, a former portfolio manager with Level Global, and Todd Newman, a former portfolio manager with Diamondback Capital.”

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Read full Financial times article here.

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