Bharara Says Insider Cases Build Market Confidence

Jul 23 2012 | 11:58am ET

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, has a message for hedge fund managers who think he's picking on their industry: Like green vegetables, his prosecutions of hedge fund fraud are good for you.

Bharara told the Delivering Alpha Conference last week that such efforts build confidence among investors.

"If you have open and aggressive and fair and proper and proven cases that you bring, and you show that in the kinds of cases that I've brought, that's the kind of the thing that over time gives people more confidence in the market," Bharara said.

Bharara's office has been central to the roughly 70 insider-trading cases brought by the federal government in recent years. Many caught in the dragnet have been hedge fund managers and analysts, including Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam and people with ties to SAC Capital Advisors.

Bharara sought to leaven what could have been a tense encounter with a room full of hedge fund managers. Asked by Jim Cramer, who was interviewing him, what percentage of the people in the room were wearing a wire—referring to Bharara's successful deployment of wiretaps in many of the insider-trading cases—the prosecutors said, "I was told there would be a lot of people from the hedge fund industry here. I didn't realize just how many. I apologize in advance that I don't have subpoenas for all of you."

According to CNBC, which sponsored the conference, that response "brought down the house," and the audience "appeared genuinely amused."

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