Allen & Overy, Freshfields, O’Melveny: Business of Law

Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., host to the world’s fifth-largest equity market, agreed to pay 1.39 billion pounds ($2.15 billion) for the London Metal Exchange, which handles more than 80 percent of global trade in industrial-metal futures.

Allen & Overy LLP served as legal counsel to Hong Kong Exchanges. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handled the corporate work for LME while Jones Day acted as antitrust counsel.

Christine Wong, Hong Kong Exchanges’ general counsel, played key role in the transaction, Allen & Overy said in an e-mail. Outside counsel at Allen & Overy was led by London corporate partner Alistair Asher and regulatory advice was provided by partner Damian Carolan. The Hong Kong team was led by corporate partners Bernadine Lam and Gary McLean and regulatory partner Alan Ewins. Partner Ian Powell handled the financing aspects in Hong Kong.

The Freshfields team assisting Tom Hine, LME general counsel, was led in London by Sundeep Kapila, global head of the firm’s market infrastructure practice. U.K. partners Michael Raffan, Simon Evans, Colin Hargreaves and Ian Frost also were involved.

The Jones Day team was led by Frances Murphy, a London partner in antitrust and competition law.

The deal would be Hong Kong Exchanges’ first overseas acquisition. The 135-year-old LME sets global benchmark prices for metals including copper, aluminum and nickel, of which China consumes more than any other nation. Its network of warehouses doesn’t currently extend into the country.

“Hong Kong Exchanges can be positive for LME if it can enhance its China exposure,” said Jonas Kan, the head of Hong Kong research at Daiwa Capital Markets.

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Gupta Convicted of Insider Trading for Tipping Rajaratnam

Rajat Gupta, who reached the pinnacle of corporate America as managing partner of McKinsey & Co. and director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co., was convicted by a federal jury of leaking inside information to hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

The outcome is a victory for the U.S. government in a nationwide crackdown on insider trading at hedge funds.

“We continue to feel that Mr. Gupta is innocent of all charges,” defense lawyer Gary Naftalis said after the verdict. “We will be making a motion to set aside the verdict and appeal if necessary.”

Gupta “didn’t trade,” Naftalis said. “He didn’t tip Mr. Rajaratnam. He didn’t receive a dishonest dime.”

Gupta, 63, was found guilty of three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy June 15 by a federal jury in Manhattan in its second day of deliberations. Securities fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, and conspiracy carries a five-year maximum. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said Gupta can remain free on bail until sentencing on Oct. 18.

“Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Mr. Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Violating clear and sacrosanct duties of confidentiality, Mr. Gupta illegally provided a virtual open line into the board room for his benefactor and business partner, Raj Rajaratnam.”

Gupta, who was also acquitted of two counts, is the most prominent of the 62 people convicted since the nationwide crackdown began. To date, the U.S. has brought cases against 68 traders and their sources from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. No one has won an acquittal; six cases are pending.

The case is U.S. v. Gupta, 11-cr-00907, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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Ex-SEC Enforcement Attorney Pleads Not Guilty to Wire Fraud

Daryl Hudson III, a former senior counsel in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division, pleaded not guilty in federal court after being charged with seven counts of wire fraud.

Hudson, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Hampden Kent Group LLC, was arraigned June 14 in U.S. District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was indicted May 23 and faces as long as 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each charge if convicted.

Hudson, 59, of the District of Columbia, is accused of engaging in a scheme to defraud Santa Fe-based Bluenergy Solarwind Inc. by falsely representing that he could secure debt funding to help the company grow, according to a statement by New Mexico U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales. He worked at the SEC from 1982 to 1985, according to the indictment.

In July 2011, Hudson accepted $85,000 as a partial retainer payment from Bluenergy, which hired him to secure about $80 million in debt funding for the company’s effort to begin manufacturing solar wind turbines. Hudson provided Bluenergy with a falsified receipt showing that investor funding was available, according to the indictment.

When Hudson was fired in August 2011 after the company raised questions about the legitimacy of the receipt, he refused to return the retainer, according to the indictment.

“The allegations in the indictment concern one disgruntled client who, over a three-week period, misled my client about its business and in fact could not demonstrate any product or revenues to obtain financing,” David A. Streubel, a lawyer for Hudson, said in an e-mail June 15.

When the full story is explained in court, he said, “Mr. Hudson will be completely exonerated.”

The case is U.S. v. Hudson, 12-01250, U.S. District Court, District of New Mexico (Albuquerque).

Moves Round-Up

Lateral Hires in Orange County, Boston, New York and Oversees

K&L Gates LLP hired Ellen L. Darling and Brendan M. Ford as partners in the firm’s Orange County office. Darling, Ford, and three associates join K&L Gates’s product liability practice from Snell & Wilmer LLP, the firm said.

Darling focuses on product liability litigation involving pharmaceutical, medical device and other life sciences companies. Ford represents pharmaceutical and medical-device manufacturers in product liability cases.

Greenberg Traurig LLP said Ronan P. O’Brien joined its Boston office as a shareholder in the corporate and securities practice group. O’Brien will focus on mergers and acquisitions while serving as outside general counsel to several clients. Before joining Greenberg Traurig, O’Brien was a partner in the corporate practice group of Seyfarth Shaw LLP, the firm said.

Harris & Houghteling LLP said that former Dechert LLP litigation partner Kevin O’Brien joined the New York City firm as a name partner. The firm changed its name to Harris, O’Brien, St. Laurent & Houghteling LLP to reflect O’Brien’s arrival and the elevation to name partner of Andrew St. Laurent, a partner with the firm since 2009.

Dickstein Shapiro LLP hired Jeffrey Mitchell and another lawyer from the New York office of Gibbons PC, the firm said. Mitchell, a commercial litigator, represents banks, securities firms, and accounting firms, among others.

Cooley LLP announced that it hired intellectual property partners DeAnna D. Allen in the Washington office and Joseph M. Drayton in New York.

Allen, who focuses on patent litigation, was most recently a partner at Dickstein Shapiro, the firm said. Drayton joins from Kaye Scholer LLP and has experience in intellectual property litigation, as well as complex commercial and antitrust matters.

In lateral moves oversees, U.K. entertainment transactions lawyer Lisbeth Savill will join O’Melveny & Myers LLP in August as a partner in the entertainment, sports and media practice in London. Savill is the former head of Olswang LLP’s film and television team, the firm said.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP hired James McNally as a partner in London. McNally was a part of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s global private equity team and advises on corporate transactional and private equity fund matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, fund formation and financings.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP announced that Olivier Chambord, a mergers and acquisitions energy transactions lawyer will relocate to London from Paris to join the firm as a partner in its business and finance practice.


Ex-BP Engineer Faces February Trial in Spill Criminal Case

A former BP Plc engineer charged with destroying evidence sought for a U.S probe of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will face a Feb. 25 trial, a judge said.

Kurt Mix, who worked on internal BP efforts to estimate the amount of oil leaking from the well, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting text message strings from his mobile phone. Mix has pleaded not guilty.

“Kurt Mix looks forward to his day in court,” Joan McPhee, Mix’s attorney, who is a partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, said in a phone interview.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval in New Orleans set the trial date at a scheduling conference with lawyers for the U.S., BP and Mix on June 13. His order was filed with the court June 14. The judge also directed the government to “provide all non-expert and expert” evidence to Mix by June 29.

The blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and started millions of barrels of crude leaking into the Gulf. The Mix prosecution is the first criminal case to arise from the 2010 spill.

Alisa Finelli, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, declined to comment.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Mix, 12-cr-0017, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans). The civil case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

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