商业 - 金融


Roger Parloff 2013年07月30日

长期以来,美国法律的不寻常之处在于,对于是否因为某一位雇员的不法行为而惩罚该员工就职的整个公司,联邦检察官拥有巨大的裁量权。最近,美国一家法庭就因为几名员工的内幕交易正是向对冲基金SAC Capital Advisors提起了起诉,控告这家公司涉嫌电信欺诈和证券欺诈。

    除了已经认罪的六位员工和某些尚未被证明的违法行为(马托玛和斯坦伯格还未认罪),检察官的其余指控都极具争议性。SAC的律师团队由Willkie Farr & Gallagher律师事务所的马丁•克劳斯和Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison律师事务所的丹尼尔•J•克莱默领导。他们在本周一向SAC全体员工发表了一份长达46页的白皮书,对美国证券交易委员会对科恩提起的民事行政诉讼进行了反驳,前者控诉科恩未能尽到监督两位投资组合经理参与惠氏、Elan和戴尔三支股票内幕交易之职。





    With the exception of the fact that the guilty pleas and the as yet unproven indictments have occurred (Martoma and Steinberg have pleaded not guilty), all the government's accusations are sharply disputed. SAC's lawyers, led by Martin Klotz at Willkie Farr & Gallagher and Daniel J. Kramer at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, have given a sneak peek of what their responses will look like in a 46-page White Paper disseminated to SAC's employees on Monday. It responds to the Securities and Exchange Commission's civil administrative charges against Cohen, whom the commission accuses of having failed to adequately supervise two portfolio managers in connection with their trading in three stocks -- Wyeth, Elan, and Dell.

    The paper -- not yet rebutted, of course, by the government -- succeeds in raising on its face plenty of doubts about any impropriety by Cohen in connection with those particular trades, and it also plausibly touts SAC's compliance program -- which now has 38 full-time employees -- as being one of the earliest, most sophisticated, most expensive, and most far-reaching in the industry. It allegedly includes "daily reviews" of email and IMs; a 100% electronic retention policy; restrictions on the use of expert networks; and even surveillance of employee communications. It is true that most of these key compliance measures were instituted after the trades that are the focus of the indictments, but it also appears to be true that they were instituted before SAC became aware of the current investigation.

    But regardless of whatever holes SAC's lawyers can shoot in Bhrara's peripheral allegations, the guilty pleas of the six portfolio managers are all Bharara seems to need under the current law, and they've already happened. (In fact, under existing law, you can convict a corporation based on an employee's alleged wrongdoing even if the employee is ultimately acquitted!) All that remains to be determined -- and probably negotiated -- are the penalties and whether SAC will be permitted to survive in some form, perhaps through the mechanism of the government agreeing to dismiss the indictment in exchange for SAC's execution of a non-prosecution agreement. (The Milberg class-action law firm survives to this day, for instance, notwithstanding having been indicted on racketeering charges in 2006. After its three indicted partners left the firm, Milberg was allowed to enter a non-prosecution agreement in exchange for a $75 million fine.)

    Though Cohen himself, judging from his lawyers' White Paper, might have a triable case in the SEC's administrative action, where the commission seeks to ban him for life from the securities industry, Cohen may have to trade away whatever fighting chance he has there to avert catastrophe to his firm in the criminal case.

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