Tech Investors, Execs Charged With Insider Trading
Prosecutors allege trades were made based on insider information about Akamai Technologies, AMD, Google, IBM, Polycom, and Sun Microsystems.
Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, who rode his hedge fund to $7 billion in assets by betting primarily on high technology and health care stocks, was arrested Friday along with five others and charged with insider trading. Many of their trades in high tech stocks were based on illegally obtained information, prosecutors alleged.
Rajaratnam, a partner in Galleon Management and a portfolio manager for Galleon Group, was accused of conspiring with the five other defendants to produce more than $20 million in profits by receiving insider information on several companies including Akamai Technologies, AMD, Google, IBM, Polycom and Sun Microsystems.
A native of Sri Lanka and a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and Business, Rajaratnam is listed as the 236th richest American by Forbes Magazine.
The complaint has been filed in U.S District Court, Southern District of New York and prosecutors outlined the charges at a press conference in Manhattan on Friday. The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed charges against the six.
"Raj Rajaratnam is not a master of the universe, but rather a master of the rolodex," said Robert Khuzami, the SEC's Division of Enforcement director, in a statement. "He cultivated a network of high-ranking corporate executives and insiders, and then tapped into this ring to obtain confidential details about quarterly earnings and takeover activity."
The SEC added that Rajaratnam, who compiled an enviable string of trading and investment banking profits betting on high tech companies, doesn't deserve his reputation for "genius trading strategies" or astute study of company fundamentals or marketplace trends."
According to media reports, others named in the complaint included Rajiv Goel, 51, an executive at Intel Capital; Anil Kumar, 51, an executive at McKinsey & Co., Robert Moffat, 53, an IBM executive; and Danielle Chiesi, 43, and Mark Kurland, 60, both of whom were affiliated with a Bear Stearns unit. None of the defendants and attorneys representing them was immediately available for comment.
Prosecutors said they began investigating the case as far back as November of 2007.
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