Dark Clouds Over Wall Street

History's largest insider-trading case stuns the investment world

Dennis Levine was one of Wall Street's hottest young investment bankers. A managing director with Drexel Burnham Lambert, Levine, 33, was glib and gregarious, and had a knack for cultivating clients. In addition, he had a particular gift for obtaining information about impending hostile merger bids and then persuading takeover targets to hire his firm for their defense. According to federal law-enforcement officials, Levine also used his expertise for a less innocent pursuit: buying stock in companies that he knew were about to be acquired, and then selling the shares at a profit after a takeover bid sent the prices sky-high.

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