Watching developments in the Level Global insider trading case -- which fell apart after the Second Circuit's landmark decision in Newman resulted in the conviction of its co-founder and another defendant being overturned -- feels like watching a movie rewind.
The most recent news in the case is that on Friday, Level Global asked a federal court to vacate its 2013 settlement with the SEC and return the $21.5 million it paid in disgorgement and penalties for alleged insider trading. Notably, the WSJ reports that the SEC advised the court yesterday that it does not oppose this request to return the $21.5 million and that such a refund is likely. According to the WSJ, this type of refund may be unprecedented. Indeed, it is not even clear who will receive the $21.5 million refund check as Level Global went out of business after being raided by the FBI in 2011 as part of the federal investigation.
In addition to the "rewind" on this $21.5 million payment, and the already overturned criminal convictions, Level Global co-founder David Ganek is also trying to flip the script by filing his own unusual lawsuit against U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and other prosecutors and FBI supervisors and agents involved in the raid of Level Global. As I noted here, Ganek claims that the FBI's search of Level Global's office,
which tarnished the firm's reputation and led to its rapid demise, was based on "a fabricated claim falsely attributed to a government informant. The government affidavit supporting the search warrant request, written by an FBI special agent and supposedly reviewed by seasoned prosecutors, included a material false statement." According to Ganek, the affidavit falsely represented that Ganek was involved in insider trading. Ganek added that prosecutors never did use any of the evidence gathered from the raid during Chiasson's trial.
With the penalties, convictions and even the defendants all on rewind now, what is left? The Grand Reopening of Level Global?