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Matt Levine

Insider Trading in the Potato Trade

Also condos, blockchains, ICOs, broker records, plane crashes and the Pence Rule.

“Potato Seller in Insider Case Overheard Tip at Train Station” is the terrific headline here, about an insider trading case in France involving 11 people, one of whom was a potato seller who happened to overhear some inside information:

The potato trader didn’t trade any stock himself, but he “later told his brother about the tip in front of another acquaintance ‘who had come to repair his boiler.’” The brother then traded on the news. The fruit-seller acquaintance also traded, and one official of the Autorité des Marchés Financiers “said there’s evidence that the potato salesman received a 10 percent kickback on his business acquaintance’s trading gains.” I don’t know if the boiler guy traded. There is some disagreement at the AMF about whether to hold the potato seller liable for insider trading, but they agree on the brother and the fruit guy.