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Opinion
Matt Levine

Levine on Wall Street: Greed Might Be Criminal, But Not Fear

Liberty Media, Men's Wearhouse, all sort of M&A battles up in here, 2014 is fun. Not for Mathew Martoma though.

I guess insider traders are greedy.

Mathew Martoma's insider trading trial starts today and, I don't know, on my casual reading of the evidence it doesn't look great for him. The main defense seems to be something like "well sure I told Steve Cohen to trade based on illegal inside information, but he was gonna do those trades anyway." So it's like failed insider trading. Yesterday the judge ruled that prosecutors could tell jurors that Martoma's insider trading was motivated by "greed," which I think is a pretty unilluminating explanation for anything -- "imagine, he acted out of self-interest!" -- but I guess prosecutors think differently. They can't tell jurors that Martoma fainted when the FBI came to his house, which again I think is pretty unilluminating; you'd be kinda bummed too if you learned that the U.S. government was going to devote its considerable resources to ruining your life.