After telephone calls with Lloyd Blankfein about Goldman’s profits and Berkshire Hathaway’s $5 billion investment, former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta, who was just charged with insider trading, didn’t wait one minute before calling Raj Rajaratnam with the good — and bad — news.
You’d think that Gupta would have made some attempt to keep his alleged insider trading under wraps.
Example: On one call in 2008, Gupta got off the phone with the Board at 3:56 pm. He had just learned that Berkshire Hathaway would make a $5 billion investment in the bank, which would go public the next day.
He called Raj on the same line at 3:57 pm — not even a full minute after learning of the enormous new stake.
Raj was able to place a trade before the close of markets that day.
And according to the SEC’s complaint against Gupta, Gupta called Raj immediately after finding out material information about Goldman more than once.
After he disconnected from a call about sliding profits with Blankfein himself,, Gupta didn’t wait more than 23 seconds before he telephoned Raj.
More on the Berkshire Call
On September 23 of 2008, a Special Telephonic Meeting of the Goldman Sachs Board was convened at 3:15 p.m. During the call, the board considered the $5 billion preferred stock investment by Berkshire and a public equity offering.
This was big news for Goldman, and Gupta knew it.
Warren Buffet’s company, “was one of the most respected and influential investors” in the country, and news that it would take such a large stake in the bank at a time of great market volatility, would not only get the tick of approval the public, but more importantly, would inspire investor confidence.
Gupta stayed on the call until 3:53 pm, according to the SEC.
He disconnected. And then, without hesitation — without even a seconds break — Gupta called Rajaratnam from the same line, the complaint says.
“Within a minute after this telephone conversation, at 3:56 p.m. and 3:57 p.m., and just minutes before the close of the markets, Rajaratnam caused the Galleon Tech funds to purchase more than 175,000 additional Goldman Sachs shares,” according to the complaint.
On The Phone With The Lloyd
On October 23, 2008, Blankfein, CFO David Viniar, and other senior Goldman execs at conducted a Board posting call during which they informed the other board members of the bank’s financial situation.
It was 4:15 pm. Gupta dialed in when the meeting began, and disconnected at 4:49 p.m according to the SEC.
Within 23 seconds of disconnecting from the call, Gupta allegedly called Rajaratnam. They spoke for 15 minutes, and the next morning when the market opened, Galleon began liquidating its holdings of Goldman stock, according to the SEC. Galleon avoided losses of over $3 million with the information allegedly supplied by Gupta.
Gary Naftalis, Gupta’s lawyer says that the “SEC’s allegations are totally baseless,” and his client “has done nothing wrong and is confident that these unfounded allegations will be rejected by any fair and impartial fact finder.”