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Indian-American Pleads Guilty In Insider Trading: US

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Indian-American Pleads Guilty In Insider Trading: USA hedge fund manager in the US has pleaded guilty to his involvement in insider trading schemes and could face up to 20 years in prison.

Samir Barai, 39, a portfolio manager at two different New York hedge funds, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York said.

Barai, who had been arrested on February 8 this year and charged in a criminal complaint, is scheduled to be sentenced on August 29, 2011. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offence on the conspiracy count and a maximum fine of five million dollars on the securities fraud count. In addition, Barai agreed as part of his plea agreement to forfeit the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offences.

According to court documents, Barai worked as a portfolio manager at two hedge funds located in New York between 2006 and 2010. During this time, he and his co-conspirators, including Donald Longueuil, Noah Freeman, Jason Pflaum and Winifred Jiau participated in a conspiracy to obtain material, non public information. The inside information included detailed financial earnings about numerous public companies, including NVIDIA and Marvell Technology Group. Often, Barai and his co-conspirators used an “expert networking” firm to communicate with and pay their sources of inside information, many of whom were employees of public companies. They also obtained inside information from independent research consultants who communicated with employees at public companies. In May 2008, Barai allegedly obtained from Jiau information regarding Marvell’s financial results and based on that information, he caused his hedge fund to execute trades in Marvell, realising trading gains of more than 800,000 dollars. Barai also had regular conference calls with Longueuil and Freeman who worked at other hedge funds, during which they shared the information they learned with each other.

During the course of the insider trading scheme, Barai destroyed documents and electronic records in connection with the scheme.

As he admitted at the plea proceeding, after learning about a federal investigation into insider trading, Barai directed his research analyst to destroy electronic and hard copy documents relevant to the investigation. Apart from Barai, Son Ngoc Nguyen, an employee in the finance department of NVIDIA Corporation pleaded guilty to charges arising out of his involvement in separate insider trading schemes. Nguyen, 39, of California, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud. This count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Nguyen also faces a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offence on the conspiracy count. He is scheduled  to be sentenced on November 29, 2011.

-HT

 

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin

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Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.

The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.

Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.

Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.

Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.

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SOUTH ASIA

Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told

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The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.

The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.

Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.

“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.

Islamabad and its nuclear-armed neighbour India “continue to engage in a quantitative build-up and a qualitative improvement” of their atomic stockpiles, added Tony deBrum, a Marshallese government minister.

DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.

In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.

The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.

But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.

Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.

It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

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Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus

New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.

Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.

The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.

In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.

According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.

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