Microsoft manager sentenced for insider trading

Former Microsoft Corp. senior manager Brian Jorgenson was sentenced to two years in prison for insider trading that reaped $400,000 in profit using nonpublic information about the software maker’s quarterly earnings and its investment in Barnes & Noble Inc., the U.S. said.

A manager in Microsoft’s corporate finance and investment division earning a six-figure salary, Jorgenson, 32, was privy to confidential information about planned acquisitions when he tipped a friend about the Barnes & Noble investment in 2012, prosecutors said.

Jorgenson pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of securities fraud. Angelo Calfo, Jorgenson’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the sentencing.

The case is U.S. v. Jorgenson, 14-cr-00120, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).
 

Compliance Action
 

JPMorgan Fund Choices for Clients Said to Come Under SEC Review

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing whether conflicts of interest led JPMorgan Chase & Co. to sell certain investment products to individual clients, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The review is at an early stage, said the person, who asked to remain anonymous because the inquiry isn’t public. The Wall Street Journal, in a report on the review Aug. 8, said the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has conducted a similar probe into whether JPMorgan inappropriately steered private-banking clients into its own products.

Banks can capture a greater portion of fees by having clients invest in their own products. In some cases, they can also offer better-than-average performance. New York-based JPMorgan said in February that 80% of its fixed-income assets under management and 81% of its equity assets were in funds that were in the top 40% of peers over the previous 10 years.

“We manage a variety of portfolios based on a client’s investment objectives, and the mix of solutions varies, is dynamic and transparent,” said Darin Oduyoye, a JPMorgan spokesman.

Kevin Callahan, a spokesman for the SEC, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment. Bryan Hubbard, an OCC spokesman, declined to comment.
 

Crucible’s Moore Charged by U.S. With Obstructing SEC Exam
 

Charles Moore, chief executive officer of Crucible Capital Group Inc., a New York-based broker-dealer, was charged with obstructing a regulatory exam being conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York.

Moore, 62, was arrested on charges that he repeatedly caused Crucible, which he controlled, to falsely report its net capital above the threshold of $5,000 mandated by regulators when it was actually in debt.

The U.S. said Crucible held itself out as a “boutique investment banking firm” that helped small businesses raise capital and financing. In fact the company, a registered broker- dealer with the SEC, maintained no customer securities trading accounts, Bharara’s office said Aug. 8.

Moore allegedly directed an employee to falsify invoices from vendors by removing references to past-due balances and deliver the faked documents to the SEC, which was conducting a regulatory probe of Crucible that started in 2013.

A voice-mail message left at Crucible seeking comment about Moore’s case wasn’t immediately returned.

The case is U.S. v. Charles J. Moore, 14-MAG-1729, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
 

BMW China Cuts Parts Prices Amid Antitrust Investigation
 

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG will reduce prices of spare parts in China amid an antitrust investigation into the auto industry.

BMW will cut prices on more than 2,000 components by an average of 20% starting today, the Munich-based automaker said in an e-mailed statement Aug. 7. The company also said its authorized dealerships will set up more outlets in large cities including Beijing and Shanghai to sell original parts to independent workshops to help provide consumers more choice.

China is stepping up scrutiny over how much foreign automakers charge for vehicles and spare parts. The government began looking into possible antitrust violations in the auto industry at the end of 2011.

“Recently, the National Development and Reform Commission’s Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly Bureau expressed great concerns over existing problems in the auto industry and after-sales service sector,” BMW said in the statement. “BMW has been paying close attention and in response, is making the effort to bring down wholesale prices and promoting the flow of original parts.”

In the first seven months of the year, BMW has cut prices on more than 3,300 pieces of original parts by an average of 15%, of which 108 products were cut by 20% to 50%, according to the statement.

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