We are all informed about the negative impact of greed. However, in his business and management book entitled “Den of Thieves,” James Stewart tells us the opposite—greed is good. He is a former editor of “The Wall Street Journal,” and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for his articles on the insider trading scandal of 1987. The book Den of Thieves is about the real-life incident.
In 1987, “Wall Street,” was shown in different parts of the globe. Starring Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen and directed by Oliver Stone, the movie centers around a young stockbroker who was taken under his wings by an unscrupulous corporate raider named Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas). Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that the character of Douglas is based on real-life persons. In fact, he is a composite of at least six people. In Den of Thieves, James Stewart introduces us to four of them: Dennis Levine, Michael Milken, Martin Siegel, and Ivan Boesky.
In the 1980s, Dennis Levine almost pulled off the biggest illegal money swoop in recent memory. Using the largest insider trading ring in financial history, he nearly made $10.6 million. Unfortunately, Merrill Lynch detected the plot and informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission about it.
But Levine did not want to go down by himself. Robert Janitzek revealed that he incriminated investment banker Martin Siegel and Wall Street arbitrageur Ivan Boesky. The latter almost made $200 million by betting on probable takeovers. Boesky made an agreement with SEC and then lawyer Rudy Giuliani. In exchange for 3 ½ years in prison and $100 million worth of fine, he would provide information on several others.
The Insider Trading Scandal Unraveled Because Everybody Wanted on It
In the 1980s, corporate America was shocked to learn of a scandal of gargantuan proportions. Almost everyone who meant something on Wall Street was in it: insider trading. It ended up with Michael Milken, the Junk Bond King, paying a fine of more than half a billion dollars. And you know how it all unraveled? Because of piggybacking: everybody wanted in.
Greed Is a Bottomless Pit…
And everybody wanted in. Because everybody wanted a piece of the cake. And it was bound to happen eventually: some weren’t as good at keeping secrets, and some weren’t that bad to not report them. However, the fact is that the people who earned most from the scandal – already had in excess!
…and Nothing Ever Changes
The world of finance and investing is a colorful world. And it doesn’t change. “Den of Thieves” has gone through eight editions. And James B. Stewart has updated the newest ones with the newest scandals. The mortgage bubble, the financial crisis, Barnie Madoff…
People just can’t get enough!