Goldman guru going down
Born in India, educated at Harvard and a well-respected board member of Wall Street banking behemoth Goldman Sachs, Rajat Gupta was “a wonderful example of the American Dream.”
According to one of the jurors who found him guilty on three counts of insider trading and one of conspiracy on Friday - he was also “a savvy and sneaky man...a little snake in the grass.”
Gupta’s most serious crime - passing information to a hedge fund that earned millions of dollars trading on his tips - carries up to 20 years behind bars.
A life far different to the one he’s used to at his sprawling $13 million Connecticut mansion - dubbed a “public dharamasala” by some - or his $4 million Florida beachfront pad, luxurious Manhattan apartment or beautiful Colorado ranch.
Gupta, 63, born in Kolkata and a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, who married his university sweetheart Anita Mattoo, left the courthouse on Friday without speaking to reporters. He sat motionless while the verdict was read, but his adult daughters could be heard sobbing. As the courtroom emptied, they hugged their father.
A father who is also a former chief of the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and ex-director of consumer products giant Procter & Gamble. He also won admirers, including author and spiritual leader Deepak Chopra, with his philanthropy. A stellar reputation which began to unravel at last year’s trial of Sri Lankan-born Raj Rajaratnam, when Goldman Sachs chairman Lloyd Blankfein testified that Gupta appeared to have violated the investment bank’s confidentiality policies.
Less than a month after Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years in prison - at the time the highest ever sentence for insider trading - Gupta was charged in a separate case built on some of the same wiretap laid by the FBI.
During the trial that began on May 20, prosecutors highlighted a September 23, 2008, phone call only minutes after Gupta had learned Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway planned to invest $5 billion in Goldman Sachs - a blockbuster deal that wouldn’t be announced until the stock market closed at 4pm.
Records showed that moments after the phone call ended at 3.55pm, Rajaratnam purchased $40 million in Goldman stock - an 11th hour trade that ended up making him nearly $1 million.
It wasn’t to be the last time the two colluded. FBI assistant director Janice K. Fedarcyk said the conviction was the latest milestone in tackling illegal hedge conduct, adding: “Rajat Gupta broke the law, plain and simple.”
Sentencing has been set for Thursday, October 18.