October 23, 2017

Victims of Plane Crash Are Identified as 2 Chinese Students

The two students, both women, were believed to have been seated toward the back of the Asiana Airlines passenger jet when it crashed Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, the president of airlines, Yoon Young-doo, said Sunday. At least 180 people were injured.

As federal investigators begin trying to determine what caused the crash, Mr. Yoon said Asiana Airlines did not believe there was anything wrong with the Boeing 777, which had been purchased in 2006.

“So far, we don’t believe that there was anything wrong with the B777-200 or its engine,” he said. He also apologized for the crash, saying, “We are deeply sorry for causing the trouble.”

The flight had originated in Shanghai and left Seoul for San Francisco, the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said. The two students, Chinese media reported Sunday, were from Zhejiang province in eastern China. Of the 291 passengers on board, 141 were Chinese, including at least 70 students and teachers on their way to summer camps, Chinese media reported.

Asiana Airlines identified the two students as Ye Meng Yuan and Wang Lin Jia.

Smoke billowed out of holes in the fuselage of the Boeing 777 on Saturday afternoon as firefighters rushed to douse the wreckage and passengers scrambled to safety down inflated escape chutes. The plane’s tail, landing gear and one of its engines were ripped off.

“It hit with its tail, spun down the runway, and bounced,” said one witness, Stefanie Turner, 32. Despite incredible damage to the plane, left dismembered and scarred, with large chunks of its body burned away, many of the 307 aboard were able to walk away on their own.

Joanne Hayes-White, the San Francisco fire chief, said 182 people were injured and 123 were unhurt.

“We observed multiple numbers of people coming down the chutes and walking to their safety,” Chief Hayes-White said. At least five people were listed in critical condition at hospitals. The chief said the two bodies were discovered on the runway and that several passengers were found in San Francisco Bay, where, she said, they may have sought refuge from the fire.

One passenger, a South Korean teenager wearing a yellow T-shirt and plaid shorts, said that the plane “went up and down, and then it hit the ground.”

“The top collapsed on people, so there were many injuries,” he said, referring to the overhead luggage compartments, before an airport official whisked him back into the Reflection Room, a quiet center in the airport for thought and meditation.

The crash comes after a remarkable period of safety for airlines in the United States. It has been four and a half years since the last airline crash — a safety record unmatched for half a century. That accident involved Colgan Air Flight 3407 (operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407), which crashed on approach to Buffalo International Airport, killing 50 people, including one on the ground on Feb. 12, 2009. Globally, as well, last year was the safest since 1945, with 23 deadly accidents and 475 fatalities, according to the Aviation Safety Network, an accident researcher.

San Francisco General Hospital, the city’s trauma center, had received 52 patients as of 8:40 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, according to Rachael Kagan, a hospital spokeswoman.

Dr. Chris Barton, the chief of emergency services at the hospital, said, “We have seen a lot of patients with spinal injuries.” He said those injuries included spinal compression and burst vertebral bodies, the largest part of the vertebra.

Doctors also saw patients with fractures of their long bones and blunt-force injuries to the head and abdomen.

Some patients had been discharged, but the hospital provided no details.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it had dispatched a team to from Washington to investigate, and declined to speculate as to a cause of the crash. But witnesses said that the plane approached the airport at an awkward angle, and it appeared that its tail hit before it bounced down the runway. When it stopped, they said, passengers had scant time to escape before a blaze burned through the fuselage.

“I looked up out the window and saw the plane coming in extremely fast and incredibly heavy,” said Isabella Lacaze, 18, from Texas, who saw the crash from the San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront.

“It came in at a 30- or 45-degree angle and the tail was way, way lower than the nose,” said another witness, Ms. Turner.

“I remember watching the nose go to the ground and the tail way up in the air and then the tail back to ground hard,” Ms. Lacaze said. At that point, she said, the tail snapped off and the rest of the plane skidded down the runway.

Norimitsu Onishi reported from San Francisco, and Ravi Somaiya from New York. Reporting was contributed by Vindu Goel, John Markoff and Somini Sengupta from San Francisco; Christopher Drew, Jad Mouawad, Marc Santora and Michael Schwirtz from New York; Matthew L. Wald from Washington; and Choe Sang-hun from Seoul, South Korea. Susan Beachy contributed research.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/08/us/san-francisco-plane-crash.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: Fallen Goldman Director Appeals for a New Trial

Rajat Gupta, center, a former Goldman Sachs director, was sentenced to two years in prison last year in an insider trading case.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesRajat Gupta, center, a former Goldman Sachs director, was sentenced to two years in prison last year in an insider trading case.

8:28 p.m. | Updated It was perhaps the most critical piece of evidence in the trial of Rajat Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs director found guilty last year of leaking the bank’s boardroom discussions to his hedge fund friend.

“I heard yesterday from somebody who’s on the board of Goldman Sachs that they are going to lose $2 per share,” his friend, the money manager Raj Rajaratnam, told a colleague during an October 2008 conversation that federal investigators secretly recorded.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta argued that a federal appeals court should overturn his client’s conviction and grant a new trial because the verdict was tainted by the erroneous admission of that statement and other wiretapped conversations.

“The wiretaps should never have been admitted,” said Mr. Gupta’s lawyer, Seth P. Waxman, during the argument at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan.

Last June, a jury convicted Mr. Gupta, 64, of sharing Goldman’s confidential information with Mr. Rajaratnam. The presiding trial court judge, Jed S. Rakoff, sentenced Mr. Gupta to two years in prison. A year earlier, Mr. Rajaratnam was found guilty at trial and given an 11-year sentence. His appeal is also pending.

The men, who came to this country from South Asia as university students and rose to the highest ranks of business, are two of the most prominent figures caught up in the government’s crackdown on illegal conduct on Wall Street trading floors. Since 2009, the United States attorney in Manhattan has charged 81 individuals; of those, 73 have either pleaded guilty or been convicted.

With his freedom hanging in the balance, Mr. Gupta attended Tuesday’s hearing, accompanied by his wife, his four daughters and about a dozen friends. He was once one of the world’s most admired executives, having served for a decade as the global chairman of the management consultancy McKinsey Company. Mr. Gupta, who lives in Westport, Conn., is free on bail pending the outcome of his appeal.

The hearing, in a cramped courtroom in the stately old federal courthouse building on Foley Square, was packed with spectators. About two dozen summer law school interns from Mr. Waxman’s firm, WilmerHale, came to watch, as did a class of curious high school students from the Beacon School on the Upper West Side. The youth-filled courtroom pushed several members of Mr. Gupta’s large legal team and a group of senior government prosecutors into a crowded anteroom, where they watched a televised simulcast of the proceeding.

Mr. Waxman tried to convince the three-judge panel — Jon O. Newman, Amalya L. Kearse and Rosemary S. Pooler — that the lower court had made a series of incorrect rulings at trial. Much of the discussion centered on a ruling by Judge Rakoff that curtailed the testimony of Mr. Gupta’s daughter Geetanjali Gupta. She had planned to testify that at the time of the tips cited by prosecutors, her father told her that he believed Mr. Rajaratnam had stolen money from him.

Judge Rakoff curbed her testimony, allowing her to say only that her father was upset with Mr. Rajaratnam. If the jury had heard that Mr. Rajaratnam might have cheated Mr. Gupta, “that testimony would have powerfully refuted the government’s theory of motive,” Mr. Waxman argued.

Judge Newman appeared skeptical that the daughter’s testimony would have swayed the jury given the substantial circumstantial evidence of Mr. Gupta’s guilt.

“You’re telling me that if the jury had heard that statement it would have disregarded all the other evidence in the case?” Judge Newman asked. “How realistic is that?”

Later in the argument, Judge Newman recounted damning evidence from the trial — phone logs and trading records indicating that less than one minute after hanging up from a Goldman board call, Mr. Gupta phoned Mr. Rajaratnam, who quickly bought about $35 million worth of Goldman stock.

“Are you telling us that that’s a coincidence?” Judge Newman asked.

Mr. Waxman tried to avoid answering the question, but Judge Newman persisted. “O.K., I embrace it — it’s a coincidence,” said Mr. Waxman, a former solicitor general of the United States who is considered one of the country’s top appellate lawyers.

Richard C. Tarlowe, the federal prosecutor who argued the appeal for the government, seized upon Judge Newman’s incredulity when he rose to speak. “The argument” — that the phone calls and trades were coincidental — “was made to the jury, and it was rejected because of its absurdity,” he said.

For Mr. Gupta to have his conviction reversed, the appeals court does not have to believe in his innocence. Rather, he can win a new trial if the judges decide that Judge Rakoff improperly admitted the wiretapped conversations between Mr. Rajaratnam and his colleagues suggesting that he had an inside source at Goldman, or made other faulty rulings.

“The court’s decidedly asymmetrical interpretation of the rules of evidence left the jury with a distorted picture, in which Gupta was accused by the self-serving hearsay of a known fabulist,” Mr. Gupta’s legal team wrote in court papers.

During the argument, Mr. Waxman characterized Mr. Rajaratnam’s statements as unreliable, and described him as a braggart who “lied about his sources to impress his subordinates.”

A ruling by the appeals court is expected in the coming months. One party closely watching for a decision is Goldman Sachs, which had a lawyer attend Tuesday’s hearing. In February, a judge ordered Mr. Gupta to pay Goldman more than $6.2 million to reimburse the bank for legal expenses related to an internal investigation and other costs. But because the bank’s bylaws require it to cover legal fees for top officers and directors, Goldman is paying for Mr. Gupta’s costly defense, which has reached at least $35 million.

Mr. Gupta agreed to reimburse the bank for his legal bills if a jury convicted him, but Goldman must continue to pay them until the final outcome of his appeal.


This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 22, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the timing of Rajat Gupta’s conviction. It was in June 2012, not May 2012.

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/05/21/court-hears-appeal-of-ex-director-of-goldman/?partner=rss&emc=rss

DealBook: SAC Settles Insider Trading Charges for $614 Million

One of the cases involves a former SAC employee Mathew Martoma, who still faces S.E.C. and criminal charges on trades involving two drug makers.Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesOne of the cases involves a former SAC employee Mathew Martoma, who still faces S.E.C. and criminal charges on trades involving two drug makers.

2:16 p.m. | Updated

Two affiliates of SAC Capital, the giant hedge fund, settled insider trading charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $614 million on Friday, in what the agency said was the biggest ever settlement for such cases.

The settlements spare SAC’s founder, the billionaire Steven A. Cohen, who hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing. Mr. Cohen, one of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world, has long been considered a target of federal investigators.

But the settlements represent one of the biggest financial coups by the S.E.C. in insider trading cases yet. The amounts paid by SAC surpass the $400 million that Michael Milken paid to settle charges by the agency in 1990.

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One affiliate of SAC, CR Intrinsic, agreed to pay over $600 million over charges tied to one of its employees, who is accused of trading on illicitly obtained confidential information about the drug makers Elan and Wyeth.

That employee, Mathew Martoma, still faces both civil charges from the S.E.C. and criminal charges from the Justice Department.

A lawyer for Mr. Martoma, Charles Stillman of Stillman Friedman, said in a statement: “SAC’s business decision to settle with the S.E.C. in no way changes the fact that Mathew Martoma is an innocent man. We will never give up our fight for his vindication.”

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The other affiliate, Sigma Capital Management, agreed to pay $14 million to settle charges that it engaged in insider trading in the stocks of Dell and Nvidia.

SAC’s management company will pay the settlements, meaning that investors of the hedge fund aren’t on the hook.

The settlements, especially that of CR Intrinsic, represent more successes by the federal government in its campaign against insider trading.

“The historic monetary sanctions against CR Intrinsic and its affiliates are sharp warning that the S.E.C. will hold hedge fund advisory firms and their funds accountable when employees break the law to benefit the firm,” George S. Canellos, the acting director of the S.E.C.’s enforcement division, said in a statement.

A spokesman for SAC said in a statement, ““We are happy to put the Elan and Dell matters with the S.E.C. behind us. This settlement is a substantial step toward resolving all outstanding regulatory matters and allows the firm to move forward with confidence. We are committed to continuing to maintain a first-rate compliance effort woven into the fabric of the firm.”

Article source: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/sac-settles-insider-trading-cases-for-614-million/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Drug Makers’ Feared Enemy Turns Tables as Their Lawyer

He racked up numerous convictions and mega-settlements in nearly a quarter-century, using whistle-blowers and secret grand juries to pressure major pharmaceutical and health companies into ending illegal practices like kickbacks to doctors and misuse of blockbuster drugs.

Once described as a cross between a firebrand preacher and a charismatic litigator, Mr. Loucks burnished a reputation aptly captured in a Fortune magazine headline: “Why Do Drug Companies Fear This Man? Maybe because he’s declared all-out war on cheats in the drug industry.”

But a year and a half ago, Mr. Loucks, a Republican, left the United States attorney’s office in Boston after he was passed over for the top post and President Obama appointed a Democrat. Instead, Mr. Loucks joined Skadden, Arps last July, and has startled former allies by emerging in recent months as zealous a corporate defender as he was a prosecutor, complete with proposals seeking more lenient treatment for the medical companies he once vilified.

In a six-page memo last month to clients in his portfolio, which may include some of the very same corporations he prosecuted repeatedly, Mr. Loucks bemoaned strategies he had embraced.

“The government and the whistle-blower have an advantage,” he wrote, complaining that federal investigators were now using the law unfairly. “While prosecutors often assert the company has engaged in ‘serious’ misconduct, they keep the company in the dark, often for years, as to the specific allegations.”

Those who have known him are quick to recall that his crowning achievement was a $2.3 billion settlement against Pfizer that capped a four-year secret investigation.

“We’re all disappointed that he’s gone over to the dark side because it seemed that he was a good prosecutor,” said Shelley R. Slade, a whistle-blowers’ lawyer in Washington and a former senior counsel for health care fraud at the Justice Department.

“I looked upon it with sadness,” Patrick Burns, spokesman for the whistle-blower advocacy group Taxpayers Against Fraud, said of Mr. Loucks’ change. “He’s a good and honorable person. He did great work in the Boston office. He’s a good lawyer. It’s just too bad.”

Federal ethics rules prohibited Mr. Loucks from any dealings with the United States attorney’s office in Boston for a year after his resignation, and he can never be involved in cases he investigated directly. But he is not barred from representing clients he once prosecuted on other matters, and his law firm’s roster includes some of the biggest companies he once investigated, including Pfizer, Merck, Schering-Plough, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Medtronic.

He defends his newfound friendship with former foes, and notes that he’s still wearing cowboy boots native to his Oklahoma childhood even though he’s now working in the white-collar division of a prestigious law firm.

“While everyone calls it ‘the other side,’ I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, which is zealously representing my clients,” he said.

And while he used to call some of those people’s actions “evil,” today he argues that drug and medical device companies are making strides in complying with federal billing, fraud and kickback laws. “They make products that have huge benefits to a number of people,” he said. Skadden, a 2,000-lawyer firm, has made several hires in recent years to amplify its health care practice.

In interviews and a lengthy e-mail exchange, Mr. Loucks said his views on the whistle-blower law had evolved.

The False Claims Act, with its triple damages, has been the government’s most powerful weapon against health care fraud since Congress in 1986 increased the rewards for whistle-blowers. Since then, taxpayers have recovered an estimated $28 billion from drug and medical companies.

As a federal prosecutor in Boston, Mr. Loucks created a health care fraud unit and used the law, as well as the tools of secrecy and surprise, to reap major awards. The unit’s victories are renowned, starting with an $875 million payment in 2001 by TAP Pharmaceuticals. Whistle-blowers shared $95 million in that case, alerting companies and informants to the stakes involved.

For years, Mr. Loucks has argued that whistle-blowers are paid far too much in health care fraud cases — bounties up to 30 percent, totaling $650 million in just the last two years, he said. These people would blow the whistle for much less money, he argued both inside the prosecutor’s office and more recently in a paper titled “the Great American Giveaway.” While that hostility toward what he considers the greed of some whistle-blowers is old news, Mr. Loucks’ views on unsealing their complaints are new.

In his May 12 memo to clients, Mr. Loucks urged some companies to press judges to unseal complaints more quickly. That way, he says, they can learn the scope of complaints sooner, identify witnesses and fight back harder.

“If Mike was still with the Justice Department, he could give you 10 reasons why this is a bad idea,” said Suzanne E. Durrell, a whistle-blowers’ lawyer in Boston who worked with Mr. Loucks for a decade when she was chief of the civil division for the United States attorney in Massachusetts.

Mr. Loucks says more openness would let companies clean up their own acts, even if it meant adverse publicity.

He points to new statistics that he says support his argument. The Justice Department reported to Congress that 885 False Claims Act cases involving health care fraud were pending under seal at the beginning of this year, with only about 200 prosecutors to juggle them. On average, a case was sealed for more than a year, and some much longer.

“That the government doesn’t have adequate resources to handle the cases is not a good cause to keep them under seal,” Mr. Loucks said in an interview, comparing it to a sports game where only one team is allowed to try to score. In these cases, that would now be his former team.

“I knew what I was doing on behalf of the government,” he said. “I don’t know if lawyers on the other side felt they were not able to adequately represent their clients while the case was under seal.”

Nicholas C. Theodorou, chairman of Foley Hoag’s business crimes defense group in Boston, said Mr. Loucks’ argument made sense from a corporate defense standpoint, and possibly would sit well with some federal judges who have questioned why cases remain under seal so long.

For his part, Mr. Loucks uses a baseball reference to explain his switching sides. Johnny Damon left his beloved Boston Red Sox in late 2005 to sign with “the evil empire, the New York Yankees,” Mr. Loucks said. Both teams won World Series with help from Mr. Damon.

Asked whether the “evil empire” analogy fit the Justice Department or Skadden, Mr. Loucks said, “One man’s evil empire is another’s home team.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=30e0fc3bd7d48c07cb580939a795e09b

Drug Makers’ Once-Feared Foe Switches Sides, as Their Lawyer

He racked up numerous convictions and mega-settlements in nearly a quarter-century, using whistle-blowers and secret grand juries to pressure major pharmaceutical and health companies into ending illegal practices like kickbacks to doctors and misuse of blockbuster drugs.

Once described as a cross between a firebrand preacher and a charismatic litigator, Mr. Loucks burnished a reputation aptly captured in a Fortune magazine headline: “Why Do Drug Companies Fear This Man? Maybe because he’s declared all-out war on cheats in the drug industry.”

But a year and a half ago, Mr. Loucks, a Republican, left the United States attorney’s office in Boston after he was passed over for the top post and President Obama appointed a Democrat. Instead, Mr. Loucks joined Skadden, Arps last July, and has startled former allies by emerging in recent months as zealous a corporate defender as he was a prosecutor, complete with proposals seeking more lenient treatment for the medical companies he once vilified.

In a six-page memo last month to clients in his portfolio, which may include some of the very same corporations he prosecuted repeatedly, Mr. Loucks bemoaned strategies he had embraced.

“The government and the whistle-blower have an advantage,” he wrote, complaining that federal investigators were now using the law unfairly. “While prosecutors often assert the company has engaged in ‘serious’ misconduct, they keep the company in the dark, often for years, as to the specific allegations.”

Those who have known him are quick to recall that his crowning achievement was a $2.3 billion settlement against Pfizer that capped a four-year secret investigation.

“We’re all disappointed that he’s gone over to the dark side because it seemed that he was a good prosecutor,” said Shelley R. Slade, a whistle-blowers’ lawyer in Washington and a former senior counsel for health care fraud at the Justice Department.

“I looked upon it with sadness,” Patrick Burns, spokesman for the whistle-blower advocacy group Taxpayers Against Fraud, said of Mr. Loucks’ change. “He’s a good and honorable person. He did great work in the Boston office. He’s a good lawyer. It’s just too bad.”

Federal ethics rules prohibited Mr. Loucks from any dealings with the United States attorney’s office in Boston for a year after his resignation, and he can never be involved in cases he investigated directly. But he is not barred from representing clients he once prosecuted on other matters, and his law firm’s roster includes some of the biggest companies he once investigated, including Pfizer, Merck, Schering-Plough, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Medtronic.

He defends his newfound friendship with former foes, and notes that he’s still wearing cowboy boots native to his Oklahoma childhood even though he’s now working in the white-collar division of a prestigious law firm.

“While everyone calls it ‘the other side,’ I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done, which is zealously representing my clients,” he said.

And while he used to call some of those people’s actions “evil,” today he argues that drug and medical device companies are making strides in complying with federal billing, fraud and kickback laws. “They make products that have huge benefits to a number of people,” he said. Skadden, a 2,000-lawyer firm, has made several hires in recent years to amplify its health care practice.

In interviews and a lengthy e-mail exchange, Mr. Loucks said his views on the whistle-blower law had evolved.

The False Claims Act, with its triple damages, has been the government’s most powerful weapon against health care fraud since Congress in 1986 increased the rewards for whistle-blowers. Since then, taxpayers have recovered an estimated $28 billion from drug and medical companies.

As a federal prosecutor in Boston, Mr. Loucks created a health care fraud unit and used the law, as well as the tools of secrecy and surprise, to reap major awards. The unit’s victories are renowned, starting with an $875 million payment in 2001 by TAP Pharmaceuticals. Whistle-blowers shared $95 million in that case, alerting companies and informants to the stakes involved.

For years, Mr. Loucks has argued that whistle-blowers are paid far too much in health care fraud cases — bounties up to 30 percent, totaling $650 million in just the last two years, he said. These people would blow the whistle for much less money, he argued both inside the prosecutor’s office and more recently in a paper titled “the Great American Giveaway.” While that hostility toward what he considers the greed of some whistle-blowers is old news, Mr. Loucks’ views on unsealing their complaints are new.

In his May 12 memo to clients, Mr. Loucks urged some companies to press judges to unseal complaints more quickly. That way, he says, they can learn the scope of complaints sooner, identify witnesses and fight back harder.

“If Mike was still with the Justice Department, he could give you 10 reasons why this is a bad idea,” said Suzanne E. Durrell, a whistle-blowers’ lawyer in Boston who worked with Mr. Loucks for a decade when she was chief of the civil division for the United States attorney in Massachusetts.

Mr. Loucks says more openness would let companies clean up their own acts, even if it meant adverse publicity.

He points to new statistics that he says support his argument. The Justice Department reported to Congress that 885 False Claims Act cases involving health care fraud were pending under seal at the beginning of this year, with only about 200 prosecutors to juggle them. On average, a case was sealed for more than a year, and some much longer.

“That the government doesn’t have adequate resources to handle the cases is not a good cause to keep them under seal,” Mr. Loucks said in an interview, comparing it to a sports game where only one team is allowed to try to score. In these cases, that would now be his former team.

“I knew what I was doing on behalf of the government,” he said. “I don’t know if lawyers on the other side felt they were not able to adequately represent their clients while the case was under seal.”

Nicholas C. Theodorou, chairman of Foley Hoag’s business crimes defense group in Boston, said Mr. Loucks’ argument made sense from a corporate defense standpoint, and possibly would sit well with some federal judges who have questioned why cases remain under seal so long.

For his part, Mr. Loucks uses a baseball reference to explain his switching sides. Johnny Damon left his beloved Boston Red Sox in late 2005 to sign with “the evil empire, the New York Yankees,” Mr. Loucks said. Both teams won World Series with help from Mr. Damon.

Asked whether the “evil empire” analogy fit the Justice Department or Skadden, Mr. Loucks said, “One man’s evil empire is another’s home team.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/business/05switch.html?partner=rss&emc=rss