Meet Preet Bharara: The Man Who Changed Insider Trading On Wall Street

Insider trading changed forever about the same time that Preet Bharara took office.

Now Wall Streeters who want to cash in on material secrets will have to meet in person, or else risk getting wiretapped.

He might be a harda$$, but Bharara has a soft spot for his wife, who he has never named in the press, despite the intense interest in who she is (Preet Bharara wife is the top search item after his name). He also likes the Boss (Springsteen), and he could eat samosas all day.

Learn his innermost secrets as revealed to Fortune recently.

Meet Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Preet loves wiretapping Wall Streeters, but the landmark decision to wiretap suspected insider traders was made before he even got there

Bharara says:

'The aggressive use of wiretaps is important: It shows that we are targeting white-collar insider-trading rings with the same powerful investigative tools that have worked so successfully against the mob and drug cartels.'

But the landmark decision to use wiretaps in the case against Raj Rajaratnam was made before he got into office.

Source: Fortune

Regardless, wiretapping hedge fund managers and traders is what he's known for

He thinks he has a face for radio -- and it sparked his interest in Wall Street

One of his first jobs was a news anchor at the student radio station, 95.3 WHRV, when he was a sophomore at Harvard. 'Even back then, I had a face for radio,' he jokes.

In fact, he was on the news desk as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged down 22.6% on 1987's Black Monday. That day sparked his curiosity about Wall Street.

Source: Fortune

His family is a melting pot of FOUR different religions

His father is Sikh, and his mother is Hindu.

Bharara told the Times that when he married his wife, whose mother was Jewish and whose father was Muslim, he joked, 'Four different families, practicing four different faiths -- all compelled to flee half-a-century ago because of their religion. Even when my wife fasts for Yom Kippur, and my father-in-law fasts for Ramadan, I get to stuff my face with samosas all day.'

Source: Fortune

His brother sold to Amazon for $540 million

Preet's younger brother, Vinit, left his job as a lawyer and started a business that sells diapers over the Internet.

Vinit sold the company, Quidsi (which owns, last year for $540 million to

Source: Fortune

His mum bragged about the multi-million dollar sale to Sanjay Gupta's mum

'All I know is it was not until the day that my brother got word that Amazon was buying his company for more than half-a-billion dollars, that my very proud, Indian-American mother got on the phone with Dr. Sanjay Gupta's mother and said, 'Eat your heart out.' '

Source: Fortune

He's a fan of Bruce Springsteen

He and his chief deputy, Boyd Johnson, see The Boss live when they can.

Source: Fortune

He went to a strict high school run by a man who wore lavender suits and drove a turquoise Mercedes

Preet went to the same high school as Kirsten Dunst, the Ranney School in Tinton Falls, N.J., where the founder wore lavender suits and drove a turquoise Mercedes. Students on the other hand, had to wear uniforms -- blue blazers and grey flannel pants.

Fortune says the school's founder, Russell G. Ranney, a World War II veteran and an admired educator, was a colourful figure who wore lavender suits and drove around in a turquoise Mercedes.

Source: Fortune

And he staged a mini protest in his office

When one of his favourite teacher's jobs was threatened, Preet organised a group of students and brought them to the founder's office to petition for her job.

It didn't work.

Source: Fortune

'He asked questions and tried to find the right answers rather than the converse, which is ask who he is and then therefore derive the answer from there.' -- Viet Dinh

'He's always impressed me as a very thoughtful guy.' - Brian Benczkowski, former chief of staff to Attorney General Michael Mukasey and now an attorney at Kirkland & Ellis in Washington.

Source: Fortune

He might be lured away from public office by the private side

'Preet loves his job and has no desire to run for public office now or ever,' his senior press adviser, Ellen Davis.


His friends tell Fortune that he might be lured by the offer of a partnership in a private law firm, where he could earn millions a year.

Source: Fortune

It wouldn't be his first time! The private side is where he got his start.

Before he was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he was a lawyer.

A snapshot of his resume:

  • worked as a summer volunteer in the campaign of Mark Green, who was then running for New York City's public advocate
  • worked as a litigation associate at the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
  • worked at Swidler Berlin Shereff Friedman
  • became a prosecutor in the Southern District in 2000
  • was the chief counsel to New York Senator Charles Schumer

Source: Fortune

He once stayed up all night to win an argument about whether the founding fathers were inherently good or evil

Preet spent an entire day and all night -- until 9 AM the next morning -- debating whether the founding fathers believed man to be inherently good or evil while at Harvard.

His opposer, Viet Dinh, who later became an assistant attorney general under George W. Bush says that he probably took the side of man being evil.

Source: Fortune

Now check out the life of the man his office helped convict, Raj Rajaratnam

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