Quotes

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 374

Den of Thieves is a 1992 non-fiction book by American writer James Stewart. It documents the insider trading scandals that rocked Wall Street in the 1980s.

The book opens by describing the activities of investment banker Martin Siegel, who famously received $700,000 in illicit funds from Ivan Boesky in a...

(The entire section contains 374 words.)

See This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this study guide. You'll also get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Den of Thieves is a 1992 non-fiction book by American writer James Stewart. It documents the insider trading scandals that rocked Wall Street in the 1980s.

The book opens by describing the activities of investment banker Martin Siegel, who famously received $700,000 in illicit funds from Ivan Boesky in a series of phone booth drops.

Martin A. Siegel hurried through Washington, D.C.'s National Airport and slipped into a phone booth near the Eastern shuttle gates. For years now, phone booths, often at airports, had served as his de facto offices.

Early in the book, Stewart offers his own analysis for the events he will chronicle in the ensuing chapters.

At the most basic level, American capitalism has flourished because everyone, rich and poor alike, has seen the marketplace reward merit—enterprise, innovation, hard work, intelligence. The securities laws were implemented to help protect that process, to guard the integrity of the markets and to encourage capital formation, by providing a level playing field on which everyone might pursue their fortunes. Violations of the securities laws are not victimless crimes. When insider traders gain windfall stock profits because they have bribed someone to leak confidential business secrets, when prices are manipulated and blocks of stock secretly accumulated, our confidence in the underlying fairness of the market is shattered. We are all victims.

Later in Den of Thieves, Siegel tells his friend Martin Lipton about his fears of being blackmailed. Lipton advises Siegel to speak to Larry Pedowitz, an attorney who formerly worked as a federal prosecutor. Ultimately, Siegel has to admit his past actions to Pedowitz.

"I did this," he said between sobs. "I'm guilty. I'm sorry. I want to do the right thing."

The discontinuity between the legal advisers of the various characters and firms is frequently revisited in the book. In one passage, Stewart describes how Michael Milken's attorneys had trouble cooperating with the corporate counsel for Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Milken's lawyers had little respect for Drexel's. At an early meeting of all the lawyers at Peter Fleming's firm in New York, Thomas Curnin, Drexel's lead counsel, was leading a discussion when Liman arrived late. Liman began talking as he came through the door, interrupting, Curnin, imperiously taking charge. Curnin smoldered in silence.

Illustration of PDF document

Download Den of Thieves Study Guide

Subscribe Now
Previous

Analysis