Federal regulators have charged a former Goldman Sachs board member with insider trading, saying he gave confidential information to the key figure in what prosecutors call the largest hedge fund insider-trading probe ever.Gupta was once a guest at the White House.
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the civil charges against Rajat Gupta on Tuesday. The SEC said Gupta told Raj Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, that Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway planned to invest $5 billion in Goldman before it was publicly announced at the height of the financial crisis.
Gupta also is charged with giving Rajaratnam confidential earnings information from Goldman and Procter & Gamble. Gupta served on Goldman's board from 2006 until last May. He was a P&G board member from 2007 until resigning Tuesday, after the charges were announced.
Gupta was an investor in some of the Galleon hedge funds when he passed the information along, and he had other business interests with Rajaratnam, the SEC said. Rajaratnam used the information from Gupta to illegally profit in hedge fund trades, the SEC said.
Prosecutors have said Rajaratnam generated profits of more than $50 million after getting inside information about public companies' earnings and plans for mergers and acquisitions. The information on Goldman made Rajaratnam's funds $17 million richer, the SEC said. The P&G data created illegal profits of more than $570,000 for Galleon funds managed by others, the SEC said.
"Gupta was honored with the highest trust of leading public companies, and he betrayed that trust by disclosing their most sensitive and valuable secrets," SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami said.
Gupta's list of achievements is long. A guest of the White House at President Obama's first state dinner held for the visiting Prime Minister of India, Gupta is one of India's most high-profile immigrants.He's lavished money on Democrats for years. Rajaratnam was even more generous with Obama, as well as with Hillary Clinton. It's quite amazing how many of her fatcat fundraisers have wound up in prison or under indictment. Rajaratnam donated over $30,000 to Obama in 2008. Gupta also showered money upon former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, who instead of facing charges for his role in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac/Countrywide scandals has landed a cushy, high-profile lobbyist gig.
He came to the Harvard Business School in 1971 and joined the blue-chip consulting firm McKinsey right after graduation. Gupta became McKinsey's first non-Western head when he became worldwide managing director of the firm from 1994 to 2003.
A further look at Rajaratnam uncovers this:
Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge-fund billionaire charged as part of a vast insider-trading case, surfaced in an earlier, separate probe into U.S. fund raising by a Sri Lankan terrorist group, people familiar with the probe said.Even while under investigation, Gupta got to dine with Obama.
As part of that investigation, federal agents said they uncovered documents showing Mr. Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group, was among several wealthy Sri Lankans in the U.S. whose donations to a Maryland-based charity made their way to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, these people said. The LTTE, known as the Tamil Tigers, fought against the government of Sri Lanka in a brutal separatist war from 1976 until the LTTE was defeated in May.
He was also active politically. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political contributions, shows Mr. Rajaratnam donated $26,200 to the Democratic Party's fund-raising arm in 2007. He also provided $4,600 in 2007 to the campaign of Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state, and $4,600 in 2008 to the campaign of President Barack Obama.