Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cioffi and Tannin trial date

I see from the wire services that the US district court, eastern district of New York, has set a trial date for two securities-fraud defendants who once worked for Bear Stearns: Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin.

Jury selection begins September 28, 2009.

Cioffi and Tannin ran two hedge funds within Bear Stearns that made big bets on subprime mortgages. The quick collapse of these funds in the summer of 2007 was one of the first claps of thunder in the storm that continues to this day.

So are Cioffi and Tannin mere scapegoats? They were wrong about the subprime market and those who invested in their ability to be right consequently lost a lot of money. But their investors were grownups (and well heeled grown-ups too -- nobody got evicted from his/her garrett because Tannin and Cioffi lost the rent money).

Both men have pleaded not guilty.

One question you might ask yourself: why is this case going to trial in the eastern district of New York? That district consists of Long Island, Staten Island, the Queens, and Brooklyn. Didn't Tannin and Cioffi work in Manhattan? Manhattan, along ith the Bronx, constitutes the SOUTHERN DISTRICT of New York. Yes, they did.

And there have been times when the US Attorney for the southern district was the big cheese in such matters, the sheriff of Wall Street (that's how Rudi Giuliani first became a national figure after all, back in the 1980s).

Some commentators, like Peter Lattman have read the ED attorney's involvement as an incident in an ongoing rivalry between SDNY and EDNY.

Furthermore, the bill of indictment says little more about the reason for the involvement of the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district than this, beyond, "Some of the fund's investors resided within the eastern district of New York." There's surely more to it than that.

I'm hoping for an embarrassment for the prosecution. I hope Cioffi and Tannn's attorneys can make the ED guys wish they had left Wall Street alone. Leave it to the SD forever after, I imagine them telling one another when this is all done.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about this at some point in the nine months between now and trial.

1 comment:

sam said...

They are going to trial for LYING to the public about the publicly traded funds they managed. One of them also pulled his own money out of the funds while telling the public falsely that the funds were in great shape.