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Michael Douglas isn’t a greedy corporate executive who cheated to profit while innocent investors lost their savings, he just played one in a movie. Now the man who played Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is starring in a public service announcement for the Federal Bureau of Investigation meant to root out insider trading — the same crime that ultimately brought down Mr. Gecko in the 1987 film.
In a one-minute spot (see below) — now showing on CNBC and Bloomberg Television — Douglas helps promote a government initiative aimed at drawing cooperating witnesses and tipsters from Wall Street, asking the public to help identify securities fraud. The video is meant to raise the FBI’s public profile, to not only make people aware that the government is cracking down on illicit trading, but to let them know how they can help.
“The more people out there aware of the problem, the more opportunities we have to get tips,” said Richard T. Jacobs, a supervisory special agent at the FBI. Jacobs helped bring in the Galleon Group insider trading case, which resulted in the conviction of the billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
Perfect Hedge, an outgrowth of the Galleon investigation, has already yielded 64 arrests, a number expected to grow for years to come as the FBI’s network of sources multiplies and more tips flow in. To get those tips, the FBI lined up a free production team and several networks willing to air their appeal, and despite having no budget, managed to get Michael Douglas to star in the video, giving the actor, who says he would receive high-fives and handshakes from real-life traders and bankers on the streets of Manhattan, a chance to set the record straight.
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