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Where Dubai rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014. Click here

The FBI is still in hot pursuit of corporate criminals

The FBI is investigating widespread claims of insider trading.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's 10 most wanted fugitives are prominently displayed on the agency's website.

They include Robert William Fisher, wanted in connection with the killing of his wife and two young children; Semion Mogilevich, a Russian sought for alleged participation in a multimillion-dollar fraud, and Osama bin Laden, suspected in this instance of having a hand in the bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya.

"He is left-handed and walks with a cane," the FBI helpfully points out.

The US$27 million (Dh99.1m) reward the FBI is offering for information leading to the arrest of bin Laden may be no more than the annual salary of a top trader.

And while there are no bankers or hedge fund managers on the list, it may be only a matter of time. The agency is now investigating widespread claims of insider trading.

It remained tight-lipped, confirming only that it was executing "court-ordered search warrants". But already the sweep is affecting the share prices of some of the grandest names on the Street, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase.

The investigation comes at the instigation of Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan.

He told reporters he believed illegal insider trading was "rampant" on Wall Street but "also at Main Street companies". It is understood that one of the main focuses is on the flow of information from companies to hedge funds.

How will this play out on Main Street? Taxpayers, forced to bail out Wall Street, will now be facing the prospect that some of the losses were not just unfortunate but were caused by illegality.

Sending in the FBI to root out the villains brings back memories of 1930s, when John Dillinger was America's public enemy number one. After watching Manhattan Melodrama, starring Clark Gable, Dillinger was gunned down by FBI agents.

Today's investigators will be hoping for a similarly successful outcome, if perhaps a little less gruesome.

rwright@thenational.ae

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