Ivan Boesky

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Ivan Boesky
BornIvan Frederick Boesky
(1937-03-06) March 6, 1937 (age 77)
Detroit, Michigan
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Ivan Boesky
BornIvan Frederick Boesky
(1937-03-06) March 6, 1937 (age 77)
Detroit, Michigan

Ivan Frederick Boesky (born March 6, 1937) is an American stock trader who is notable for his prominent role in a Wall Street insider trading scandal that occurred in the United States in the mid-1980s.

Life and career[edit]

Boesky was born in Detroit, Michigan. He attended the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills before graduating from Detroit's Mumford High School. He then took courses at Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. Despite lacking an undergraduate degree, he was admitted to Detroit College of Law (now Michigan State University College of Law) and graduated in 1965. He was apparently admitted to the bar in Michigan.[1][2] In the 1980s, he served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University's Graduate School of Business and at New York University's Graduate School of Business.[3]

By 1986, Boesky had become an arbitrageur who had amassed a fortune of more than US$200 million by betting on corporate takeovers and had also gained control as Chairman of The Beverly Hills Hotel Corp. (after the death of his father-in-law who had run it for 25 years). The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigated him for making investments based on tips received from corporate insiders. These stock acquisitions were sometimes brazen, with massive purchases occurring only a few days before a corporation announced a takeover. Boesky was on the cover of Time magazine December 1, 1986.[4]

Although insider trading of this kind was illegal, laws prohibiting it were rarely enforced until Boesky was prosecuted.[5] Boesky cooperated with the SEC and informed, including the case against financier Michael Milken. As a result of a plea bargain Boesky received a prison sentence of 3.5 years and was fined US$100 million. Although he was released after two years, he was permanently barred from working in securities.[6] He served his sentence at Lompoc Federal Prison Camp near Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Boesky never recovered his reputation after doing a stint in prison, and paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and compensation for his Guinness share-trading fraud role and a number of separate insider dealing scams. Later, Boesky, who is Jewish, embraced his Judaism and even took classes at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he had been a major donor; however, in 1987, following the fallout from his financial scandal, The New York Times reported that "after Ivan F. Boesky had been fined $100 million in the insider-trading scandal, the Jewish Theological Seminary, acting at his request, took his name off its $20 million library."[7]

His involvement in criminal activities is recounted in the book Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart.

Another version of these events is recounted by Jonathan Guinness in his book "Requiem for a Family Business" which suggests the SEC granted him immunity from prosecution and allowed him to continue to insider trade for significant profit whilst wire tapping him to entrap others.

In a 2012 interview with the New York Times, a cousin of Boesky's disclosed that he is living in La Jolla, California.[8]

Ivan F. Boesky & Company[edit]

Ivan F. Boesky & Company was founded by Ivan in 1975 with the financial backing of his wife Seema Boesky and the business plan of speculating on corporate takeovers. Boesky's firm grew from profits as well as buy-in investments from new partnerships. In 1987, a group of partners sued Boesky over what they claimed were misleading partnership documents 1.

In popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Stewart, James B., Den of Thieves, Simon & Schuster, 1991. Cf. p.35
  2. ^ Ulmer, Byran K., "Ivan Boesky" in Encyclopedia of White-collar & Corporate Crime, (Lawrence Salinger, editor), SAGE, 2004. Cf. p.96-97
  3. ^ Boesky, Ivan F., Merger Mania, Holt Rinehart Winston, 1985.
  4. ^ Ivan Boesky at the TIME archive
  5. ^ Article on Boesky at New York
  6. ^ Ivan Boesky Biography at enotes.com
  7. ^ Goldman, Ari L. "Boesky Studying Hebrew and Talmud at Seminary" New York Times (July 23, 1987)
  8. ^ Vivian Marino [THE 30-MINUTE INTERVIEW - Stuart J. Boesky [1] New York Times (September 4, 2012)
  9. ^ Battling Boeskys Time.
  10. ^ A $100 Million Idea: Use Greed for Good
  11. ^ Archive of Berkeley Commencement Speakers