Goldman Sachs Board Member Couldn’t Wait A Single Second To Pass Insider Information To Raj RajaratnamBy Bess Levin
Okay, that’s not entirely fair. Rajat Gupt actually did wait a second– all 23 of them– to call Rajaratnam after an informative chat with Lloyd Blankfein.
Blankfein began to appreciate very early in the quarter that results were going to be poor. About mid-quarter, on October 23, 2008 at 4:15 p.m., Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar (“Viniar”), and other senior executives at Goldman Sachs conducted a Board posting call during which they informed the Board of the company’s then-current financial situation. The daily and weekly profit and loss statements that Blankfein and Viniar would typically rely on as the basis for their presentations to the Board show that the company was then operating at a quarter to date loss of $1.96 per share at the time.
Gupta dialed into the October 23, 2008, Board meeting around the time it was scheduled to start and remained on the call until 4:49 p.m. Just 23 seconds after disconnecting from the call, Gupta called Rajaratnam. The call lasted approximately 13 minutes. The following morning, just as the financial markets opened at 9:30 a.m., Rajaratnam caused the Galleon Tech funds to begin selling their holdings of Goldman Sachs stock. The funds finished selling off their holdings — which had consisted of over 120,000 shares — that same day at prices ranging from $97.74 to $102.17 per share. The same day (October 24, 2008), in discussing trading and market information with another participant in the trading scheme, Rajaratnam explained that Wall Street expects Goldman Sachs to earn $2.50 per share but that Rajaratnam had heard the prior day from a member of the Goldman Sachs Board that the company was actually going to lose $2 per share. As a result of Rajaratnam’s trades based on the material nonpublic information that Gupta provided, the Galleon Tech funds avoided losses of over $3 million.