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Husband of ex-Linklaters associate admits using confidential info from M&A deal his wife was working on to make £75,000 stock market profit

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He says his wife had no idea

The husband of a now ex-Linklaters lawyer has pleaded guilty to insider trading after he allegedly used confidential information from a big money M&A deal to make thousands of dollars on the stock exchange.

According to Reuters, Fei Yan — a research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology — is accused of using insider information concerning Linklaters’ client Sibanye Gold and its planned $2.2 billion (£1.7 billion) acquisition of Stillwater Mining. Interestingly Yan’s wife, Menglu Wang, was involved in the acquisition deal, as she was an associate in the firm’s New York office. She was swiftly suspended following her husband’s arrest and has since left the firm.

Arrested in July, Yan was accused by United States’ prosecutors of purchasing stock options in Stillwater in 2016, before offloading them on the day the deal was announced. The report claims that the researcher made a profit of more than $100,000 (£75,000). Wang has not faced any charges.

Yan pleaded guilty to charges that he engaged in insider trading before a Boston court on Monday. He maintains that his lawyer spouse was not aware of what he was up to. In a statement he said:

“My wife, Menglu Wang, had no knowledge that I misappropriated or traded on the basis of this information. I knew what I was doing was wrong and I am deeply sorry, especially to my wife.”

Harvard Law School grad Wang joined Linklaters in 2015 as an associate in the outfit’s corporate, mergers and acquisitions group, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her lawyer, Wayne Gosnell of Clayman & Rosenberg LLP, said:

“[The] proceedings demonstrate what Menglu has said all along — that she is completely innocent. She looks forward to moving on from this and returning to her legal career.”

Linklaters declined to comment.

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8 Comments

Anonymous

Enjoy 999 years in a US penitentiary in solitary, whilst your ex wife divorces you

Anonymous

Sounds like as soon as there was a whiff of any allegation Linklaters pulled the plug on the poor woman.

s.32 Salmon Act 1986

Well, at a minimum, she allowed her husband the opportunity to gain access to highly confidential information about a client. Obviously we are missing the context here, but she presumably left a document lying around, or left him with access to her work laptop. You could argue that she was entitled to trust her husband, but you know that’s not sufficient to comply with either her employment contract or the applicable Bar Standards rules in NY. So off she goes…

Big Dolla

I agree with your point that realistically, there is little chance she would not have been found liable with disclosing some information. And even if the allegations turned out false, her presence would still damage firm reputation.

But in principle, the husband was innocent before proven guilty, so firing the associate based in allegations of the husband does seem dubious.

Anonymous

He wasn’t “innocent before being proven guilty”.

Two relevant points. Firstly, the presumption of innocence is a *presumption*; it doesn’t mean the person is factually innocent. There isn’t some magic transubstantiation at the moment of a finding of guilt. Accordingly, he was (at most) presumed innocent for the purposes of the criminal law. The standard of proof for regulatory matters, which is what would have concerned Linklaters, is not the criminal standard in any case.

Secondly, he pleaded guilty. That would have ousted the presumption even if it had been relevant to Linklaters’ attitude to their employee.

James; a Magic Circle Trainee

Yah, one needs to be careful with these things.

But you know what they say, a new land rover every year will not buy itself.

Patrick

I have to return some videotapes.

Anonymous

I’m sorry, being the sceptic, I think he has taken the fall for both of them. There has to be an element of collusion, as it wouldn’t have been a ‘one-line’ document which set out X was acquiring Y.

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