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It has been nearly 60 years since the SEC first clearly prohibited insider trading in its 1961 decision in In re Cady, Roberts & Co. You would think that would be long enough for the doctrinal rules to have become reasonably clear. Think again! The recent evidence shows otherwise: A month ago, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe for the Southern District of New York permitted a defendant who had plead guilty to insider trading charges in 2013 to withdraw his guilty plea because there had been “insufficient” evidence that a personal benefit had been paid by the tippee to the tipper. See, United States v. Lee, 13-Cr.-00539 (PGG). Lee shows the continuing impact of United States v. Newman, 773 F.3d 438 (2d Cir. 2014). Newman had been limited by the Supreme Court in Salman v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 420 (2016) and seemingly laid to rest earlier this year by the Second Circuit’s decision in Gupta v. United States, 913 F.3d 81 (2d Cir. 2019). Nonetheless, Newman retains enough residual vitality to necessitate a new trial for Richard Lee, a former trader at now defunct SAC Capital. Pundits are predicting that the case will discourage the government from bringing cases involving remote tippees.
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By Harry Sandick, Anna Blum and Abigail Marion
The Second Circuit's long-anticipated decision in United States v. Blaszczak limits the government’s ability to bring fraud or insider trading prosecutions where the information used to achieve an advantage is regulatory information held by the government. It also brings the Second Circuit in greater alignment with the Supreme Court’s wire fraud jurisprudence.
By Andrey Spektor and Laura S. Perlov
If you use Whatsapp or similar platforms for work-related communications, then you’ve probably heard that regulators are putting an end to that practice. Ephemeral and encrypted messaging, they have noted, evades monitoring and prevents retention. A seldom used doctrine allows prosecutors to charge executives with misdemeanor offenses just for being in the position of power when others commit the misconduct. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, companies and their leaders would do well to prepare for prosecutors to reach deep into their toolbox.
By Evan T. Barr
Ever since the Honeycutt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2017 that co-conspirators convicted of federal narcotics violations could not be held jointly and severally liable, courts have grappled with whether it also applied outside the narcotics context, to forfeiture judgments imposed in white-collar cases.
By Maria Dinzeo
General counsel may find themselves pulled into difficult conversations with top executives as the Securities and Exchange Commission tightens its rules on company insiders looking to dump their stock.