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“Review: Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street”

The National Book Review

When I was about 100 pages into Black Edge, I began to sense a certain familiarity with its subject, which is (in a sentence) the years-long attempt by United States Attorney Preet Bharara and federal prosecutors and investigators to catch and perhaps destroy “the most wanted man on Wall Street,” Steven A. Cohen, the head of SAC Capital. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and virtually every other publication that covers business and finance seriously has been all over this story since it surfaced, in 2010 or so, and the popular Showtime show Billions is virtually a roman ȧ clef of the Cohen/SAC Capital investigation.

Kolhatkar, however, goes far more deeply into both sides of the story -- the Feds’ side and Cohen’s side — than Billions, or anyone else so far. And more significant, Black Edge clearly poses the fundamental issue concerning the whole hedge fund industry: can it be carried on legally, as a practical matter? Black Edge strongly (and in my view, correctly) implies that it cannot be, at least as it is currently constructed.

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