The 30-second encounter was a show of courtesy by the head of Wall Street’s most influential bank to a one-time billionaire whose firm was a Goldman client.
The Brooklyn, New York-born CEO made his approach to the defence team during a break in the proceedings.
With his hand in his suit pocket, [Blankfein] walked up to defence lawyer John Dowd and other attorneys who were chatting with Rajaratnam. Dowd… firmly shook the hand of the diminutive Blankfein and put his arm around him. They exchanged some words and a laugh.
Then, 56-year-old Blankfein rapidly extended his arm and quickly shook Rajaratnam’s hand. They exchanged a few inaudible words, Rajaratnam smiled and Blankfein moved away.
At one time, Galleon had been a Tier 1 client of Blankfein’s bank, earning Goldman millions of dollars according to John Dowd. Both Blankfein and COO Gary Cohn visited the hedge fund’s office at one time or another — though Lloyd couldn’t remember his visit, he testified yesterday.
But even in light of Galleon’s past relationship with Goldman, it was, as Reuters reported, a “surprising, handshake between two men at opposite sides of the biggest Wall Street insider trading trial in decades.”
Raj is innocent until proven guilty. Nonetheless, he’s an alleged insider trader. What’s more, he’s accused of trading on ill-gotten confidential information about Goldman Sachs. So we are surprised by the exchange, especially in light of the fact that it was Lloyd who initiated it. We guess he’s hedging his bets…