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SEC v. Rorech and Negrim

SEC v. Rorech and Negrim

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July 3, 2010

Solomon L. Wisenberg, guest-blogging at White Collar Crime Pof Blog, writes about the SEC’s total defeat in the insider-trading case of SEC v. Rorech and Negrim.   The case is interesting, in part, because the SEC’s argument seemed to rest on a potentially legitimate source of “insider trading” prosecution: misappropriateion of confidential information.

But in trying to make a legally legitimate case of “insider trading,” it seems, the SEC fell down worefully on the facts: “The allegedly confidential information was that VNU, a Dutch media holding company, was going to restructure a bond offering and that another Deutsche Bank customer had placed a $100 million indication of interest in such an offering. . . . [But] Rorech's knowledge about a potential restructuring of the bond offering was speculative in nature and already widely shared in the marketplace. Rorech's knowledge regarding another customer's indication of interest was not materially different from information already in the market regarding substantial investor demand for deliverable VNU bonds, through a restructured bond offering.”

Honest Services

Supreme Court orders reviews of Scrushy-Siegelman convictions under Skilling ruling.

The allegation was the HealthSouth Corp. chairman, Richard Scrushy, donated $500,000 to a state lottery campaign favored by Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in exchange for a seat on a state healthcare board. (via Ashby Jones, Wall Street Journal.)

The Gulf Spill

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a hearing on July 8, with the government seeking to dealy the order by District Judge Martin Feldman that threw out President Obama’s six-month moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico beyond a depth of 500 feet.

Does BP stand for “Bankruptcy Pending” ? Tom Kirkendall and his sources ponder the question.

France Does Violence to Rights

“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Such is the sage advice that mothers have given their children for ages. Now comes France to change all that: According to Steve Erlanger at the New York Times: “The French Parliament gave final and unanimous approval on Tuesday to a law that makes ‘psychological violence’ a criminal offense .” Covered are insults or repeated text messages that "degrade one's quality of life and cause a change to one's mental or physical state." The law applies to all so-called “partners,” whether married or unmarried.

This is no mere foolishness. It is an example of the contrast that has existed for a two and half centuries between the Anglo-American conception of individualism and the Continental conception of individual. In the former, the individual is a self-determining unit whose freedom to achieve life depends only upon the absence of cocerion. In the latter, the individual is culturally threatened unit whose ability to achieve authenticity depends upon the social and politicial structures around him. Unfortunately, when the latter philosophy is framed in terms similar those of the former (e.g., “rights” and “violence”), it becomes possible for transnational progressives to use European legal developments to destroy the uniquely Anglo-American legal system.