The story of the Galleon Group hedge fund bust and the crackdown on a circle of 14 people accused of insider trading keeps getting stranger. From mobster-movie nicknames to shady drop-offs, this case is full of capital managers behaving like Corleones. As journalists review the criminal complaint, filed Thursday, a consensus is emerging: Whether or not the probe ends up reforming Wall Street, this is a lot of fun. Here are some of the highlights:
- 'Grab Your Popcorn,' yells Michael Corkey to Wall Street Journal readers as he sifts through the criminal complaint. "It reads like a scene out of 'Goodfellas,' except this is no mafia movie. It is the federal criminal complaint implicating more employees of Wall Street's most respected law firms and hedge funds." He's not complaining. His favorite parts include the apparent involvement of "bags of cash," and Wall Streeters using gangster slang about "a 'rat' in their midst" and the "Hilton hit." Here's another part he's giggling over:
It isn’t all glitz and glamour that allegedly motivated the trading ring's sources, according to the complaint. Some of these sources gave up information because they needed money.
According to the complaint, "Goldfarb said that, 'they’re also hungry,' because one guy spent his whole chunk of change…from the first one' on his honeymoon, and the other guy 'bought a new kitchen."
- Like Watching HBO "Shady hedge fund honchos, beware," is Bernhard Warner's and Matthew Yeomans's summary of a case they think could properly be titled "Wall Street meets 'the Wire.'"
- You've Got to Be Kidding--Is This for Real? New York Magazine's Zeke Turner can barely believe his eyes. One Galleon conspirator's nickname, "Octopussy," is just the begining. "Now," explains Turner, "we know there was also the 'Greek' and another dodgy character
named 'Artie.' And while we’re watching the $20 million white-collar
crime ring turn into the cast from an early-eighties action porn, The
Wall Street Journal has pitched in by comparing the FBI special agent
who was investigating Galleon, David Makol, to 'just the facts' Joe
Friday." Turner's certainly amused, but points out there's an important takeaway from all this. This "Joe Friday" character actually ran "a pretty scrappy sting full of wire taps and stakeouts," and that's more common to mobster busts than Wall Street investigations.