DOJ: Galleon targeted Clearwire, Google for insider trading

Tue, 10/20/2009 - 8:45am
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

Several tech companies, including Google and Clearwire, were the targets of insider trading activity by Galleon Group, allege federal prosecutors.

On Friday, the hedge fund’s co-founder Raj Rajaratnam was arrested on charges of securities fraud related to insider trading activity together with five other defendants, including Rajiv Goel, a director in strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp.

Goel and Rajaratnam took part in multiple insider trading schemes of Clearwire stock from approximately March 2008 until around October 2008, alleges the Department of Justice.

Goel is accused of providing Rajaratnam with confidential financial information about Intel’s planned investments in Clearwire two months before the deal became public. Intel invested $1 billion in Clearwire, which attracted a total investment of more than $3 billion from the likes of Google and Time Warner.

As a result of advance news about the deal, Rajaratnam’s hedge fund could buy Clearwire stock at a lower price before the news came out and then sell the stock when it rose on the news of the investment. Galleon made a profit of about $579,000 off of the information.

Galleon also used insider information on Google to make $8 million in the summer of 2007 when an unidentified source provided data that showed Google’s income was about to fall.

Intel competitor Advanced Micro Devices was also named in the complaint, which alleges that a director at McKinsey & Co. passed on information about a proposed restructuring of the business that would spin-off its chip-making business.

The defendants in the Galleon case are all charged with participating in insider trading schemes that together netted more than $20 million in illegal profits. The case represents the first time that court-authorized wiretaps have been used to target significant insider trading on Wall Street.

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