Raj Rajaratnam is just one of a number of under-the-radar billionaires that didn’t make it onto the Forbes list.
It’s probably safe to assume that any portfolio manager who’s been managing over $5 billion for over 10 years is a billionaire.
And here’s where Raj should have been on the Forbes list, right between Richard Rainwater and Ural Rakhimov.
But he’s nowhere to be found, not because he isn’t a billionaire — Raj’s hedge fund, Galleon, used to manage $7.5 billion, so let the 20% fees he earned on the amazing returns (see below) banish any thought that he’s not a billionaire — he is.
On top of Galleon-generated wealth (the legality of which is currently the subject of debate in a huge insider trading trial that just started), Raj is rumoured to own the majority of the CSE, the Sri Lankan stock exchange.
But apparently he dropped off the list in 2010 because, according to Forbes, “he lost most of his wealth after being arrested for insider trading last October.”
Personally, we think that’s crap. The man is a billionaire.
He’s most likely not on the list anymore because some people’s wealth is just hard to calculate. Like Sri Lankan wealth.
There are no Sri Lankan billionaires on the Forbes list, even though the CSE, the Sri Lankan stock exchange, aka the Columbo, market cap is about $50 billion. (The NYSE market cap is $13.39 trillion for comparison.)
Even Sri Lankan newspapers admit they don’t know how much their richest are worth:
From the Sri Lankan Sunday Leader:
The list [of CSE billionaires] does not include hundreds of others who have their wealth in privately owned companies and in fixed assets. Some well known mega rich are not on the list as their wealth is either privately held or because their share ownership is through front or related companies are Harry Jayawardene and his warehouseman from Stassens, Ronald Perera spring to mind. Others include Sumal Perera, the two Selvanathan brothers Hari and Mano and Thirikumar Nadesan to just name a few.
For the man who’s currently on trial in the biggest insider trading scandal in a decade, not being on the Forbes Billionaire list is probably the best PR he’ll get in months.
If he were on it, the negative publicity would explode, and judge Holwell might have to start referring to him as a billionaire, instead of just a “very wealthy individual.”
So that’s one of the reasons most people don’t like being on the Forbes billionaire list.
Billionaire Julian Robertson spoke out against the list last year when he said, “It’s ridiculous. They just made it up. No one knows my net worth. My mother taught me better manners than to talk about it.”
That pretty much sums up how most Wall Streeters feel about being on it.
That, and they could fall off it, which is just embarassing. Click here to see the biggest billionaire losers >