Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has yet another big win under his belt for Wall Street. He won the largest insider trading case ever, forcing behemoth SAC Capital to please guilty as part of its settlement. Over the last three years in his position, he has also taken down some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world, corporate wrongdoers and cyber-criminals.
Bharara speaks with DealBook reporter Peter Lattman of The New York Times today at the DealBook conference. He could provide more details on his win against SAC Capital and possibly other recent insider trading cases. Live coverage of their conversation will begin shortly.
11:31 a.m. Eastern
Looks like they’re running a little behind at the DealBook conference. Preet Bharara and Peter Lattment are just starting to talk now. Right to business: SAC Capital and insider trading.
SAC Capital has been criminally charged, but not its chief Steven Cohen. Many journalists questioning why Cohen hasn’t been charged but his company has. “Is he a non-criminal running a criminal organization?” Bharara said they would bring a criminal case if or when they have enough evidence and noted that they have cases pending against some of current or former employees at SAC Capital. He highlighted why it’s important for institutions to be charged too because executives of other companies think they won’t be able to get away with having some “bad apples” at their companies charged.
He believes this is what gets people to think about managing themselves with integrity.
When asked if they are still investigating Cohen, Preet Bharara said they have not granted him immunity against criminal charges.
He also continued to talk about charging businesses and emphasized again that it’s good for accountability and that they would spend more time thinking about them. They believe if there’s going to be a settlement with an institution, then people need to understand that there is a record made “on the part of bad acting companies.” He said it’s good that new SEC chairman Mary Jo White has the same view is good as well.
When asked about a comment about Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) and whether regulation would grind to a halt if it if were charged, Preet Bharara said he believes that “there is an overstatement” of the consequences. He said people think if something happens, then “the sky will fall.” He continued to emphasize that accountability matters and that things may not grind to a halt if major banks like Citigroup are charged.
When asked about his office’s budget constraints and the fact that he was garnering big payouts for the government with meager resources, he said they don’t do cases because of how much money they get. None of it goes back to their office. He said they are doing good work in holding companies accountable for their wrongdoing. He also said that there’s a hiring freeze so he can’t hire new employees if someone leaves and that if this continues they won’t be able to do as much of what they are doing.
Asked about whether he’s independently wealthy because of his brother’s sale of Diapers.com, in which he was an early investor, he said no, he’s not independently wealthy. He let his brother pay for dinner one time, but he’s not independently wealthy.
When asked what’s next for him, he said he will keep doing the same job as long as he can and that it’s fun. He said someone sometime will kick him out of the job but that he would do what Samuel Jackson said in Pulp Fiction: he would walk the earth and get into adventures.