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Is the SAC Settlement a Win for the U.S. Government?

CohenPhotograph by Scott Eells/Bloomberg

During a press conference yesterday announcing a record settlement for insider trading with hedge fund SAC Capital, a reporter in the room asked the question that was on everyone’s mind: Is the fact that the fund’s founder Steven Cohen hasn’t been charged with anything a major disappointment?

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the man behind the podium, looked a touch peeved: “What has happened today is a very substantial and important thing—it is a rare thing for an entity to be held to account, and also rare to have it plead guilty, and also rare and unprecedented to pay the penalty,” he said. “We are not shy and retiring people, we are not unaggressive …”