The OSTK Affidavits - Nuclear Detonation in Hedgeland
Now, I may not know much about SEC regs or even fair business practices, but I do know that if the charges being leveled in the sworn testimony are true, that some very bad behavior has been going on for some time, and that the company has indeed been harmed, as have its shareholders, by a group that cynically manipulated research, as well as the press, for their own enrichment. Everything from Gradient running hedge funds that invested in the stocks that were being "researched" to enabling hedge fund clients to write their own research and publish it as Gradient's, to misrepresenting their staff as CPA's and CFA's when they were in reality college kids, to holding reports to allow the hedge funds to take short positions - what seem like, if true, an awful lot of 10(b)5 violations, not to mention good old racketeering, to this admitedly untutored opinion. So when do our brave regulators get on this and start doing their jobs? Or do they just pretend that the allegations haven't been made, and keep trying to find a way to hang Dr. Byrne for having the temerity to shine a light on the cockroaches? What's it going to take for them to do their GD jobs?
I particularly liked where Gradient is claimed to have given Herb's editor office space, paid for by that firm - and ostensibly while he was busy writing nasty reports that went on Gradient letterhead. Now, is that bad? I mean, if you have a financial journalist who is bashing the company relentlessly, who is known to be a friend of the biggest short in the company's stock, would it cross any lines to have his editor working out of Gradient's offices?
Help me out here.
I get this odd feeling that the reason the messengers have been shot by all of the financial pundits who are friendly with this group is because they know that there is no way to explain away the charges, no facile aphorisms which will trivialize the charges of frontrunning customized reports designed to negatively impact the company's stock, and slandering companies for profit, and all the rest. And there is always Herb's editor working out of Gradient's offices. Or Gradient ostensibly running money out of their offices while issuing "independent research". And the list goes on, and on, and on.
No wonder they want to make Byrne look like a kook and spend a lot of time on the Easter Bunny's favorite color.
Who would want to have to confront the charges in the affidavits? They are wildly damaging, obviously ethically over every line one can think of, and likely criminal (I don't know, not being an attorney, but they seem criminal to me - and if what they are accused of isn't against the law, my question is, why isn't it?).
So it will be interesting to see what the spin squad comes out with now that the affidavits are out there in the public domain, to see how they explain Herb's editor working out of Gradient's offices, to see how they rationalize frontrunning the reports, allowing the hedge fund to write the reports, etc. - whether that is all OK, and acceptable behavior - particularly from the WSJ, who seemed way more interested in the ex-employees and any dirty laundry they could dig up on them rather than on the actual charges. The WSJ and the Post both seem to be shocked that whistleblowers tend to be disgruntled ex-employees rather than the CEO's of the companies who have been up to no good. What a surprise. How unusual. I guess they never saw Norma Rae, or followed the Deep Throat thing, or paid attention to the mutual fund frontrunning scandal - you know, little things like that.
I just can't wait to see how long it takes the AG's of the relevant states to haul some asses into court and demand some explanations. But that is just me. Maybe enough money and power buys you immunity from the long arm of the law.
Again, I have no way of knowing if the charges in the sworn statements are true, but I do have to wonder that anyone would go out on a limb and go on the record making these allegations if they weren't.
So have at it, guys. I'm sure Jeff Matthews will have a smirking retort - although it is noteworthy that Herb, who is always game for snide snipes at Dr. Byrne, didn't comment when contacted by the PIPEs Report. Neither did his "editor". Suddenly the whole glib gang has lockjaw.
I guess the strategy now moves to the timeworn "deny everything, keep quiet, demand proof, and blame everyone else" strategy that has been the modus operandi of every perp ever accused of anything on Wall Street. They've had months to attack the messengers and claim that everyone connected with the case is a nut or a fraud, and that hasn't altered the contents of the affidavits nor the damage of the information contained therein, so one wonders what is next - you just know that the fabled countersuits will claim that all the perps are victims, innocent babes being tormented by the bad old lawyers and the demon company with the nutty CEO.
Let's see how that plays before a jury. I'm going to bet that a Marin jury can see through all the bombast to simple right and wrong.
It's pretty clear to me.
But then what do I know?