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Jerome Kerviel

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Meet Microsoft's ‘Gatekeeper of Funding’

FINANCE • Now that Yahoo rejected Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid, it's up to Microsoft's self-described "gatekeeper of funding" Christopher P. Liddell to plot the company's next chess move. [DealBook/NYT] • Fearful that 90 percent of TheStreet.com's franchise revolves around Jim Cramer, today the finance-driven Website launched Mainstreet.com, which will revolve around celebrities and personal finance. You think Britney's psychological drama is intense? Wait until you hear about her bond portfolio. [NYP] • France's rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel might have had an accomplice. How did police find out? By sifting through 2,000 pages of instant-message traffic. Bet that was a gr8 time. [NYT]

Hathaello Checks Out Miss Sixty

FASHION •Lela Rose thinks she's still in the running to design Jenna Bush's wedding dress, despite a first family visit to Oscar de la Renta last week. [NYDN] •Anne Hathaway totally lied when she said she wouldn't be attending any fashion shows this week. She and Raffaello Follieri were at Miss Sixty. [The Cut] • Sheryl Crow enters the fashion arena, with an affordable denim line by the same people who make Victoria Beckham's dVb line. [WWD]

‘Blender’ Gives Britney Spears a New Body

MEDIA • Britney Spears looks great on the new cover of Blender — too bad it's not her body. [Radar] • Stephen Chao, the former News Corp. exec who lost his job after hiring a male stripper for a company party and almost drowning Rupert Murdoch's dog, announced a new Website for how-to videos. First video: how to get fired in two easy steps. [NYT] • Now that Judith Regan's settled her suit with Murdoch, will she give her winnings — likely north of $6.5 million — to charity like she once promised? [Mixed Media/Portfolio]

Being Filthy Rich Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

FINANCEFortune searches Davos for financiers to express contrition over the current credit crisis but comes up empty. The closest anyone has come, the magazine notes, is the chairman and chief executive of Moody's Corp, who said, "We and others have to retool our processes … In hindsight, it's clear to us that there were fundamental failures in key assumptions supporting our analytical models." Quoth Fortune: "That's probably a little too mealy-mouthed and much too late to console people who bought the mortgage-backed commercial paper to which Moody's and its rival Standard & Poor's gave a top-notch AAA rating — only to discover it was actually junk." Snap! [Fortune] • Just how big a fraud did Jérôme Kerviel, the rogue French trader, pull off? Before the bank caught him, he had taken out positions worth 50 billion euros. But some argue that he was responsible for only 1.5 billion euros in losses, and the bank's board lost the other 3.4 billion euros unwinding his positions way too fast. Meanwhile, top executive Jean-Pierre Mustier told the Times: “I was speaking to a competitor, this competitor called me and said, ‘You are living what is a banker’s worst nightmare.’” Imagine how dramatic that must have sounded in French. [FT, NYT] • Bonuses now in the bank, Goldman rewarded bankers for a record-setting year with a special surprise: layoffs! [Deal Journal/WSJ]

William Kristol Has the Gray Lady's Knickers in a Twist

MEDIA • Both Times public editor Clark Hoyt and former Times conservative standby William Safire have panned Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger's decision to foist William Kristol on the editorial page. Among the other conservatives considered and passed over: Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Max Boot, and a bunch of other Weekly Standard stalwarts. But at least Judith Miller approves: "[I]t's an appointment that's a long time coming. The page needed balance.… [But] an unabashed neocon without remorse is unacceptable to Times people.… He's not kosher in that sense." [New Republic] • New York Observer president Robert Sommer nailed his MSNBC interview: "We like to view our readers as some of the smartest, most insensitive — most… Some of the most brightest readers in the country and especially New York." [NYO] • David Blum goes through his fifth sex columnist in little more than a year, firing his latest hire at the New York Press after she stole questions from Dan Savage. Some might call that slutty! [NYO]