Securities Law

Greedy Gordon Gekko Stars in FBI Public Service Ad, Urges Viewers to Tip Feds re Insider Trading

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Updated: Michael Douglas is reprising one of his most iconic roles, speaking out, in the persona of Gordon Gekko, on behalf of the FBI and warning, in a television public service ad, of the dangers of insider trading.

“He’s talking about himself as Gordon Gekko and the role that he played and how that was fiction and this is not but about real crime on Wall Street,” special agent David Chaves, a supervisor of a securities and commodities fraud unit in New York, tells Bloomberg.

Gekko famously proclaimed that greed is good in the 1987 movie Wall Street. The actor’s warning to fund managers and research analysts comes at a time when securities fraud investigations by the feds are surging, as another Bloomberg article notes.

In a front-page article, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), reports that the feds, since 2009, have charged 66 individuals at hedge funds and other businesses and convicted 57. It is currently investigating another 240 and targeting 120.

“We’ve identified them, and now of course we have to build a case around that,” Chaves told the newspaper of the targets, after a press conference at which the Gordon Gekko ad was unveiled.

In the FBI-produced video, which opens with a movie scene, Douglas urges viewers to inform themselves about insider trading and tip the feds, ABC News reports.

“In the movie Wall Street, I play Gordon Gekko, a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings,” says Douglas in the spot. “The movie was fiction, but the problem is real.”

Hat tip: Wall Street Journal Law Blog

Related coverage: “Greedy Gordon Gekko to Make a Comeback in ‘Wall Street 2’” “Lawyer Seeks SEC Snitches in Movie Theater Ads Running with New ‘Wall Street’ Film”

Reuters: “FBI sees more hedge fund trading probe informants”

Updated Feb. 28 to include information from front-page Wall Street Journal article and link to Reuters article.

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