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CALIFORNIA CORPORATE & SECURITIES LAW

Something Appears To Be Awry With California’s Insider Trading Statute

I trust that by now most quotidian readers of this blog should be familiar with Corporations Code Section 25402 which declares insider trading to be unlawful.  Although the statute has been on the books since the enactment of the Corporate Securities Law of 1968, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense.  Here’s the unabridged text of the statute: It is…

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Did The Co-Founder Of Alcoholics Anonymous Violate Rule 10b-5?

Recently, I enjoyed watching My Name is Bill W., a 1989 movie that starred James Woods, JoBeth Williams and James Garner.  The film tells the story of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder William Griffith Wilson (aka Bill W.).  In telling his story, the film details Wilson’s  work on Wall Street during the 1920s.  According to the film, Wilson decides…

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Insider Trading Is Like A Dog Named “Stay”

Insider trading cases remind me of the following joke attributed to stand-up comic Steven Wright: I bought a dog the other day. I named him Stay. It’s fun to call him. “Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!” He went insane. Regulation of insider trading is a lot like Wright’s unfortunate pet.  Securities regulators encourage investors…

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False Statements By Money Managers Support California Commodity Law Convictions

In 1990, California enacted the California Commodity Law, Stats. 1990, Ch. 969, Corp. Code § 29500 et seq.  Although this law hasn’t attracted the attention of legal writers, it has some very sharp teeth, as illustrated by the recent case of People v. Martinez, 2017 Cal. App. LEXIS 314 (Cal. Ct. App. 2017).  The CCL, among other…

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Why Bassam Salman Should Not Have Been Convicted

A lot of ink has been spilt on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Salman v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 420 (2016).  In that case, the Supreme Court upheld the criminal conviction of Mr. Bassam Salman who received lucrative trading tips from an in-law, who had received the information from his brother.  The legal issue in…

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A Hollow Nickel, Hollywood And Texas Gulf Sulphur

If you’ve taken a course in securities law, you’ve undoubtedly heard of, and I hope have read, SEC v. Texas Gulf Sulphur Co., 401 F.2d 833 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 394 U.S. 976 (1968).  That case is famous for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals’ adoption of the “disclose or abstain” rule for corporate insiders.  The…

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Insider Trading, Newman And Der Prozess

The U.S. Supreme Court’s denial of review in U.S. v. Newman, 773 F.3d 438 (2014) yesterday inspired the following very short tale: Joseph K. knew that he had done nothing wrong, but, one morning, he was arrested.  Joseph K. asked the officer “why have I been arrested?”  The officer replied “insider trading”.  “What statute is that?” asked…

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Should The SEC Ask What Would Blackstone Do?

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently trumpeted its enforcement successes for its 2014 fiscal year.  For an agency dedicated to full disclosure, there were some notable omissions, including: A California federal jury verdict finding the former Chief Executive Officer of STEC, Inc. innocent of insider trading; A New York federal jury verdict finding hedge fund…

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Oops! CalPERS Reportedly Violates Insider Trading Policy Again

Jon Ortiz, who writes The State Worker blog for The Sacramento Bee, recently reported that the California Public Employees Retirement System has again violated its insider trading policy by purchasing shares in an initial public offering that were on its “restricted securities” list.  Reportedly, the Securities and Exchange Commission was already looking at possible violations that occurred last spring. …

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CalPERS’ Offbeat Personal Trading Policy

Yesterday’s post discussed a news report of an SEC inquiry into insider trading by CalPERS.  Rather than being abashed by this news, CalPERS responded by congratulating itself on having implemented a personal trading policy. As but one example of the muddle that is this policy, CalPERS defines a “Private Placement Vehicle” as an offering of securities…

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