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Web Watch: Best of the Week Ending September 30

Bruce Carton | October 1, 2011

Throughout the week over at Securities Docket, I highlight the most interesting columns and blog posts from around the web on the subjects of SEC enforcement and securities litigation. Here is a digest of my picks for the week ending September 30.

Innospec – Were The DOJ and SEC Duped?
FCPA Professor | Mike Koehler | Sep 30, 2011
Suppose A is ordered to pay B $160.  However, A claims an inability to pay that amount and based on this inability to pay B agrees to accept only $25.  The following year, a year during which A publicly discloses evidence of financial health, A pays C $45.  You might conclude that B was duped.Convert the above numbers to millions, insert Innospec for A, insert the DOJ and SEC for B, and insert NewMarket (a competitor corporation) for C, and you now have a real scenario.
Liability Without Culpability: A Deeply Troublesome Trend
D&O Diary | Kevin LaCroix | Sep 28, 2011
One of the most basic notions in our legal system is that liability attaches only to those who act with intent or knowledge. But as detailed in a front-page September 27, 2011 Wall Street Journal article, Congress has in recent decades enacted numerous provisions imposing criminal liability regardless of intent. Among the many troubling aspects of this trend are the implications for corporate directors and officers, who often are the target of these strict liability provisions and who increasingly have liability imposed on them for matters in which they were not involved and of which they were not even aware.
Bucket List of Apologies -- SEC Edition
TheStreet.com | Gary Weiss | Sep 27, 2011
I don't mean to single out Chairwoman Schapiro, but she and the other regulators of our financial system have a lot to apologize for -- things they should have done but didn't; things they didn't do but did. In other words, they need to apologize for all the things that the public isn't getting, which is a competent financial regulatory system.So, in aid of future apologies, I have drafted a kind of Regulatory Atonement List. I've even suggested some wording:
Should the Insider Trading Rule Be Optional?
CNBC's NetNet | John Carney | Sep 26, 2011
In other words, there's no need for a legal mandate against insider trading. Instead, companies should be able to adopt a voluntary prohibition against it if they feel investors will demand it. That is, they should be able to "opt-in" to insider trading regulations. Of course, the Securities and Exchange Commission could still be in the business of enforcing compliance with a public company's voluntary prohibition on insider trading.
Tone at the Top, Culture and the SEC
SEC Actions | Thomas Gorman | Sep 26, 2011
Last week a new ghost surfaced. This time it is a referral to the Department of Justice of a former SEC general counsel regarding possible criminal violations of the ethics statutes.... What happened in this latest scandal will ultimately be sorted out by the Department of Justice. What is important is the future of the agency. How many times should Congress accept a claim that its all in the past? Is the investing public suppose to believe that this time the agency is going to finally get it right?Unfortunately repeated debacles and persistent ghosts undermine the assurances given to Congress and the public. More importantly, it also means the culture which spawned these repeated scandals and created those ghosts is wrong. It means the tone at the top which spawned that culture is wrong.