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Supreme Court won't hear major insider trading case

supremecourtWASHINGTON/NEW YORK--The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Justice Department bid to restore the insider trading convictions of two hedge fund managers in a move that a top federal prosecutor said may allow some executives who engage in such conduct to go unpunished.
  In a blow to federal prosecutors, the justices left in place a December ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that threw out the 2012 convictions of hedge fund managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson for trading on inside information about Dell Inc and Nvidia Corp.
  Prosecutors contend that the ruling too narrowly defined what constitutes insider trading and could impair the government's ability to bring charges against those who trade on non-public corporate information. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office prosecuted Newman and Chiasson, said under the ruling he would have to think "long and hard" about whether he could prosecute a chief executive for tipping friends and family to make trades.
  "We think there is a category of conduct that arguably will go unpunished going forward," Bharara said in conference call with reporters.
  Lawyers for the hedge fund managers argued that prosecutors were seeking an overly inclusive definition of insider trading. Gregory Morvillo, Chiasson's lawyer, said the Supreme Court's decision "rejected the government's efforts to rewrite well-settled insider trading law."
  Newman's lawyers, Stephen Fishbein and John Nathanson, said in a joint statement the decision came only "after years of government over-reaching," adding they hoped the action "will help ensure that others avoid a similar fate."
  The high court rejected the case without comment. Prosecutors and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had previously asked the 2nd Circuit to reconsider the ruling, only to be rebuffed in April.
  Newman, a former Diamondback Capital Management portfolio manager, and Chiasson, co-founder of Level Global Investors, were convicted in 2012 and sentenced to 4-1/2 years and 6-1/2 years in prison, respectively. December's ruling reversing their convictions marked a major setback for a crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street underway since 2009 under Bharara, whose office brought charges against 96 people.

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