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International Insider Trading Enforcement Showing New Signs of Life

Bruce Carton | September 26, 2008

The prosecution of the offense of insider trading has historically been confined largely to the United States. Even the US had not aggressively pursued insider trading until the late 1980s, when the SEC began a high-profile campaign highlighted by cases against Dennis Levine and Ivan Boesky.

Although other countries have over the past decade or so added insider trading laws to their books, enforcement has been infrequent. The UK, for example, has had insider trading laws in place since 1986, but just filed its first three criminal actions in 2008. Other countries like Japan enacted laws against insider trading in 1988, but the concept is still reportedly a bit hazy. According to one commentator, "Even today many Japanese do not understand why this is illegal. Indeed, previously it was regarded as common sense to make a profit from your knowledge."

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