Anil Kumar appeared on the witness stand today in a black suit and a black tie wearing a remorseful face reminiscent of a sad puppy dog.Quizzed by the prosecution on his involvement with Raj in the insider trading scandal, Kumar told the courtroom that Raj practically put the money in his account against his will, and that it was because Raj had paid him so much (the agreement was for $250,000 per year) that he felt obligated to tell him secret information about AMD, a micro chip company that the government alleges Raj traded shares of improperly.
“[I violated my confidentiality agreement with McKinsey and AMD because] Raj kept asking and I felt I owed him something given how much he paid me,” Kumar told the room.
He said a couple of times that he felt like he had to give information to Raj because Raj was paying him.
Specifically, Kumar said, he told Raj material nonpublic information about “Octeron,” a chip that AMD was secretly creating (it’s code name was “Maid” because it was so top secret) in order to challenge Intel’s big business with HP.
Upon learning about the “Opteron” chip and AMD’s plan to sell the chip to HP or Dell and subvert Intel’s business with the companies, Raj said, “That’s very useful information,” according to Kumar.
Then, without being asked, Kumar reflected upon telling Raj this information. He said, “I was proud of the strategic moves of AMD, and sadly, I violated everything in sharing it with Raj.”
Raj is the only person with whom Kumar shared info, according to his testimony. And he only told him because Raj had put $250,000 into his account somewhat unbeknown to Kumar.
Kumar says he was only made aware of the payments entering his account a few weeks after the transaction happened. And that initially, he felt very uncomfortable receiving payments at all. In fact, at one point, according to Kumar, he even tried to renege on his agreement with Raj to share confidential information.
But then Raj hatched a plan and made it very easy for Kumar to agree with it because he was barely doing anything other than taking a few notes whenever he thought of anything significant, and talking to Raj every 6 weeks or so to answer his questions about whether or not everything was “on track,” a phrase Raj used a lot, according to Kumar.
Raj’s plan to pay Kumar and influence him to pay was this: payments would be transferred from “Instanet,” a company which apparently hedge funds and other financial firms frequently use to make “soft dollar” payments to experts, to “Pecos Trading,” an offshore company in Switzerland. From there, the money would be transferred in the name of Kumar’s housekeeper, Manju Das.
This plan, and Raj’s “persistence” seem to have made it easy for Kumar to comply.
“Given how persistent he was,” Kumar said of Raj, “I told him about Opteron [and about HP’s plan to buy Opteron chips and later, about AMD’s plan to spin off the less profitable memory chip business].”
As one example of Raj’s persistance, Kumar told the courtroom that one time, Raj had recited to Kumar a letter and told him that he should write it out and backdate to October 1st, 2003.
The letter read:
To whom it may concern,
Please use this letter as your authorization to accept instructions from Anil Kumar on behalf of my account. In addition, please copy Mr. Anil Kumar on all correspondence.
Raj told him that it should be signed by Manju Das, Kumar’s Indian housekeeper.
Now get ready for Kumar’s sad story. Kumar told the courtroom that Raj suggested that Kumar use Das to funnel the ~$250,000 some in profits that he would earn from giving Raj tips.
Das was perfect, according to Raj, because she had an Indian passport and thus an Indian address where the pair could claim the money was located. Kumar then explained to the courtroom that the reason he had a housekeeper with an Indian passport was that he had a son who was “quite unwell,” and his family (Kumar has a wife and kids) were able to bring her over from India to care for him.
Raj then allegedly told Kumar to backdate the letter to October 1st, 2003 so that he could invest the money in Galleon, Raj’s hedge fund, which was only allowed to accept money from investors on three particular dates each year, one of which was in October.
Kumar was on the stand all afternoon today and he’ll be back on the stand on Monday morning.