Herbert Smith, Macfarlanes, Baker: Business of Law
Kweku Adoboli’s co-workers knew he was making fictitious trades, the former UBS AG (UBSN) banker told an attorney who interviewed him on the night of his arrest in September 2011.
Adoboli told Damien Byrne Hill, a lawyer at Herbert Smith LLP who represented the Swiss bank, that his colleagues on the exchange-traded funds desk were aware of fake trades from May, though they didn’t know the extent of his positions.
Hill’s notes from the discussion with Adoboli, read out by a prosecutor at the former trader’s fraud trial in London yesterday, indicated that while his colleagues were “unhappy” about the trades, they didn’t alert managers.
“I f----d up,” Adoboli said he told the other traders, according to the lawyer’s notes. “I’m trying to make it a bit better.”
Adoboli, 32, has pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and false accounting over unauthorized trades on which UBS lost $2.3 billion. The former trader admitted hours before his arrest that he risked $5 billion on Standard & Poor’s 500 futures and a further $3.75 billion in the German futures market, a former manager testified.
Hill’s notes indicated Adoboli admitted building up positions of as much as $10 billion by August 2011 and masking them with fictitious ETF trades. When other traders noticed he was stressed, Adoboli told them it was a result of splitting up with his girlfriend, according to Hill’s notes.
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Rothschild’s Bumi Probes ‘Irregularities’ at Bakrie Company
Bumi Plc (BUMI), the London-listed Indonesian coal venture founded by Nathaniel Rothschild, began a probe into alleged irregularities at associated companies in the Asian country, prompting a record drop in the shares.
Macfarlanes LLP, a London-based firm, has been appointed to handle the independent probe, which is likely to take weeks, a person familiar with the investigation said. An official at the firm declined to comment.
The stock has lost almost half its value in the past five days, or about $556 million. “An independent investigation has been commissioned to investigate the allegations on an urgent basis, and is to report to the board,” Bumi said in a statement. Jakarta-based PT Bumi Resources (BUMI), 29 percent-owned by Bumi Plc, said it was unaware of the investigation.
The probe is the latest development in a dispute involving Rothschild and the Bakries, the Indonesian palm-oil-to-property family empire founded in 1942. Rothschild, 41, and Indra Bakrie were behind a $3 billion Indonesian coal deal in 2010 that resulted in Rothschild’s Vallar Plc venture being renamed Bumi.
“Its assets are good, but the question is in how it manages the company and its debt,” said Akbar Syarief, a fund manager overseeing about $323 million in assets at PT MNC Asset Management in Jakarta. “There’s the tricky part. It’s a question about good corporate governance.”
Relations between Rothschild and co-chairman Bakrie frayed in November after the U.K. investor, the son of financier Jacob Rothschild, made public a letter to then-Bumi Plc Chief Executive Officer Ari Hudaya detailing his concerns. He called for a “radical cleaning up” of Bumi Resources and a timetable for the “repatriation of funds deposited with connected parties.”
Hudaya resigned Sept. 24 from Bumi’s board, the company said in a separate statement. The 53-year-old was CEO until March this year and is president director of Bumi Resources.
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K&L Gates LLP Management Committee Re-Elects Kalis as Head
Peter J. Kalis was elected to a fifth consecutive term by K&L Gates LLP’s management committee, as chairman and global managing partner. Kalis, who has held the title since 1997, will extend his leadership in that role through February 2017.
The management committee has 60 voting members, who represent the firm’s offices and major practice disciplines.
When Kalis first came to the helm in 1997, the firm was known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart and was a regional firm with six offices in the eastern U.S. The firm now has almost 2,000 lawyers in 41 offices on four continents.
During his tenure, Kalis has overseen eight mergers, boosting the firm in lawyer headcount rankings among U.S.-based firms, and led the firm to increased revenues. Last year was the firm’s third consecutive one with earnings above the billion- dollar mark, the firm said in a statement.
“Pete’s leadership and clear-sightedness to align us with the global economy positioned the Asia offices to thrive during the financial crisis, and his continued service will allow us all to take the next leap forward,” David K.Y. Tang, K&L Gates’s managing partner, Asia, said in a statement.
Michael Heller Voted Cozen O’Connor Chief Executive Officer
Cozen O’Connor’s board of directors yesterday elected Michael J. Heller as president and chief executive officer, beginning Jan. 1. Heller is currently the firm’s president and executive partner.
The current CEO, Thomas A. Decker, will become vice chairman of the firm and will also be actively involved in Cozen O’Connor public strategies, an ancillary business that provides government-relations services. Vincent R. McGuinness Jr. will continue in his role as the firm’s managing partner.
The changes follow the firm’s strategic plan, developed and announced last October, the firm said.
Heller, whose practice includes representation of venture capital, private-equity funds and emerging-growth companies, joined Cozen O’Connor in 1996 from WolfBlock LLP. He worked to recruit former co-workers and in 2009, 65 attorneys from WolfBlock joined Cozen O’Connor in practice areas including intellectual property, corporate and securities, real estate, trusts and estates and government relations, the firm said.
In his previous management roles, Heller helped expand the firm, particularly with the hiring of IP lawyers, including a group of 19 hired in 2011 from New York boutique firm Cohen Pontani Lieberman & Pavane LLP.
Also last year, the firm acquired a 14-lawyer group in Houston from Epstein Becker Green Wickliff & Hall PC with practices in the areas of labor and employment, energy and litigation, the firm said.
“Our goal in growing the firm has been to build upon Cozen O’Connor’s strengths in insurance law and litigation, while expanding our business practices to provide full-service capabilities for our clients,” Heller said in a statement.
Cozen O’Connor has 575 attorneys in 21 offices in the U.S., London and Toronto.
King & Spalding adds IP Transactions Lawyer in Silicon Valley
Emma Maconick, who specializes in complex intellectual property licensing and technology transactions, joined King & Spalding LLP’s Silicon Valley office as a partner in the firm’s corporate group. She joins the firm from Davis Polk & Wardell LLP, the firm said.
Maconick advises clients on the intellectual property aspects of transactional matters. She assists corporate and capital markets clients with IP assets commercializations; the negotiation of complex pharmaceutical, biotech, high-tech, web and media related agreements; and various intellectual property issues related to mergers, acquisitions, investments, and credit and financing transactions, the firm said.
King & Spalding has 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Baker & McKenzie Hires International Tax Planning Attorney
International tax-planning attorney Rafic H. Barrage joined Baker & McKenzie LLP’s Washington office as a partner. Barrage was previously a partner at Mayer Brown LLP, the firm said.
Barrage, who joins the tax practice, has experience advising multinational companies and individuals operating and investing in the U.S. on a range of international tax issues, including restructuring, IP migration, supply-chain planning, e- commerce, repatriation planning, and pre- and post-acquisition planning.
Baker & McKenzie’s global tax group has a worldwide team of more than 750 tax practitioners, economists and financial analysts in 41 countries. The firm has more than 4,000 locally qualified lawyers in 71 offices in 44 countries.
TMX Group Says Alpha CEO Jos Schmitt to Leave Company
TMX Group Ltd. (X) said the chief executive officer and general counsel of its Alpha Group unit is leaving next month, as the exchange owner works to integrate its former competitor after a takeover.
Jos Schmitt, who started the rival platform almost four years ago, will leave by Oct. 31, Toronto-based TMX said in a statement. Randee Pavalow, Alpha’s chief listings officer and general counsel, will also leave.
TMX and Alpha have been “actively engaged” in integration planning since Aug. 1, when a group led by banks and pension funds bought Alpha and Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd. to combine with its C$3.73 billion ($3.8 billion) takeover of TMX, according to the statement.
Alpha began in November 2008 as an alternative trading platform and evolved to become a full-fledged stock exchange earlier this year, with about 17 percent of the Canadian market for trading. TMX CEO Thomas Kloet said in a Sept. 12 interview that Alpha has a future under the Toronto Stock Exchange owner.
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