Rajat Gupta tried to quit the board of Goldman Sachs in September of 2008, just two weeks before he allegedly passed on tips about the bank’s profits and the $5 billion Berkshire investment to Raj Rajaratnam, according to Dealbook.
But Lloyd Blankfein and other executives convinced him to stay; they were concerned Gupta’s departure in the midst of the financial crisis would not look good for the bank, both from a shareholder and a public view, Dealbook reported.
Gupta was charged a few weeks ago with insider trading. It’s believed he’ll testify in the Raj trial.
And we know why he wanted to leave.
Prosecutors released a recording of a conversation from August 15, 2008, between Raj and Anil Kumar — both friends of Gupta — that shows Gupta was angling to leave Goldman so he could move into a senior advisory role at private equity giant KKR. (He did end up taking a role, but stepped down in the wake of the insider trading allegations.)
Here’s their discussion of the KKR post, via Dealbook,
AK: But is it really that he was so greedy for the $12 million that K.K.R. has offered him?
RR: He ran the numbers with me, right, it was about $5 million a year with upside… My analysis of the situation is he’s enamoured with Kravis, and I think he wants to be in that circle... That’s a billionaire circle, right? Goldman is like the hundreds of millions circle, right? And I think here he sees the opportunity to make $100 million over the next five years or 10 years without doing a lot of work.
Also in the tapes is a discussion of Gupta’s mental state. Kumar talks about a fear that Gupta will have an “implosion,” why Raj describes him as “tormented.”