Monday, October 14, 2013

The SAC/Madoff link

Remember when people were deconstructing the whole Madoff catastrophe after (and, we later find out, during) the fact?  One of the common observations went something like "We knew something was fishy.  He couldn't keep generating such a steady stream of profits at those levels, year in and year out, without breaking the law."

Fast forward now to Steven A. Cohen, embattled head of SAC Capital, who is getting ready to sell a number of paintings to help with his mounting legal bills.  One of which, it should be noted, is this ...

Wow.  That's a painting.  Even when you loathe Andy Warhol, sometimes you have to give the man his due.  Sotheby's expects a $20-30 million payday, so I suppose somebody is, in fact, giving the man his due.

SAC, federal prosecutors would tell you, has long held a business strategy that a) encourages borderline (if not overt) illegal behavior, and b) insulates Cohen himself from any liability.  Which, as it turns out, is not working out so well for him.

Now would be a good time to insert my portrait of Mathew Martoma in the style of Roy Lichtenstein ...

Reminds me of Special Forces SOG teams running recon in Cambodia during the Vietnam war.  "Us?  In Cambodia?  No way, man.  That shit's illegal."
The Martomo painting?
No, man.  The whole SAC legality thing.

Me?  I'm an innocent til proven guilty guy, so I'm withholding judgment.  But that said, one of the reasons SAC grew to be a 16 billion dollar enterprise, able to extract fees that nobody else would dare charge, was its ability to generate 30% gains, year in and year out.

Which sounds, with the benefit of hindsight, alarmingly like Bernie Madoff.


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