Michael Douglas, who played financier Gordon Gekko in the 1987 movie “Wall Street” and a sequel, is now starring in a television video for the FBI meant to root out insider trading — the same crime that brought down the high-flying Gekko, the New York Times reports. The one-minute spot that points out that illicit trading is, in fact, illegal, now showing on CNBC and Bloomberg Television, is part of the government's broader initiative aimed at drawing cooperating witnesses and tipsters from Wall Street.
For years, insider trading was not a top FBI focus, so would-be informants might not have known where to turn. Now that the crime is front-and-center for securities investigators, the video is part reminder, part plea for those who have seen something illegal to say something. “The movie was fiction, but the problem is real,” Douglas says in the announcement. “If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.” FBI agent David Chaves said, “It’s important for us to have the FBI brand out on Wall Street.” The focus on insider trading has drawn criticism from some who call it a distraction from more important crackdowns. On the heels of the financial crisis, which crippled the global economy, the government has filed few cases tied to wrongdoing at the major banks and lenders that prompted the upheaval.