Over the last five years, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, has aggressively pursued insider-trading cases against a broad spectrum of defendants. As a result, insider trading remains a topic of public interest—especially in the compliance community. On December 23, 2014, Compliance Week published an article on the Second Circuit’s recent reversal of insider-trading convictions against Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson. The article, which features insights from Proskauer’s Richard Spinogatti and Tanya Dmitronow, examines the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Newman and its impact on compliance professionals.
The Compliance Week article notes that the court’s decision in Newman brought “some clarity to some aspects of the crime.” Now, to sustain a conviction for insider trading, the government must prove a tippee who trades on the basis of material, non-public information knew the information was confidential and divulged for personal benefit. However, some uncertainty remains. The article specifically highlighted ambiguities in the court’s decision regarding the definition of knowledge and what constitutes a personal benefit under the insider-trading laws—topics we covered in a client alert earlier this month. Given the lingering uncertainty surrounding the decision, the article suggests compliance professionals should reinforce insider-trading rules and protocols, making clear to employees that the Newman decision does not create a license to trade on insider information.