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21 Jun 2011

Preet Bharara on the Galleon Hedge Fund Trial

The June 27, 2011, issue of The New Yorker, on page 42, “A Dirty Business”, George Packer, writes about the biggest insider-trading case in history, and has an exclusive interview with Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, whose office pursued the investigation.

When Bharara took office, in 2009, he made it clear that he would go after Wall Street greed, and the Galleon case helps to illustrate the broader culture of the financial world, in which, “over the past decade, cheating and self-dealing became a principal way to succeed,” Packer writes.

But some Wall Street observers have called the Galleon case—which included thousands of taped phone calls by the government and more than two hundred and thirty subpoenas for phone numbers by the S.E.C.—a sideshow.

The case centers around Raj Rajaratnam, the head of Galleon, a multibillion-dollar hedge fund, and Anil Kumar, a former senior executive with the consulting firm McKinsey, who, in 2003, secretly agreed to be an outside consultant to Rajaratnam. In seducing Kumar, Packer writes, Rajaratnam “made a valuable addition to the network that he had built up over the years.”

Initially, Kumar believed that he’d be passing information to Rajaratnam legally, but it wasn’t long before he realized that Rajaratnam wanted tips that he could convert into profitable stock trades, and Kumar began breaking both McKinsey’s confidentiality rules and the securities laws that forbid such exchanges. When Kumar was arrested and subsequently handcuffed, Packer writes, “He fainted, hitting his head against a wall. He had to be treated at a local hospital before he could be brought in for booking.” Later that day, Rajaratnam’s wife sent a text message to Kumar’s wife, which read, “I’m sorry.”
Read the full review on HedgeCo.

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