The ruling will make it harder for prosecutors to prove that a tipper received a personal benefit for passing on information. In the past, prosecutors had argued that mere friendship is enough to prove that a tipper got a benefit from passing on an illegal tip to a friend. But the appellate court took issue with that low-standard, saying the government must also show that the tipper expected to receive something more valuable in the future from sharing the information.
“Although the government might like the law to be different, nothing in the law requires a symmetry of information in the nation’s securities markets,” the appellate court wrote, an apparent acknowledgement of the unfairness of trading stocks.
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