Monday, June 17, 2024

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Brijesh Goel convicted of insider trading

Former Goldman Sachs investment banker Brijesh Goel has been convicted of insider trading and obstruction of justice by a New York jury, after prosecutors said he passed tips about potential mergers to a friend.

Goel, 38, was convicted on Wednesday after a seven-day trial for tipping off former Barclays Plc trader Akshay Niranjan about deals at Goldman, yielding total illegal profits of approximately $280,000.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 19, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced.

“Brijesh Goel, a senior banker at a leading investment bank, betrayed the trust of his employer and unlawfully shared inside information with his squash partner in an agreement to trade on that information,” Attorney Damian Williams said.

According to the indictment, statements made in public court proceedings and filings, and the evidence at trial, Goel received confidential, internal emails directed to Goldman Sachs’s Firmwide Capital Committee and Credit Markets Capital Committee.

This contained detailed information and analysis about potential merger-and-acquisition transactions Goldman Sachs was considering financing.

In violation of the duties that he owed to Goldman Sachs, Goel misappropriated that confidential information and tipped Niranjan, who worked at another investment bank in New York, with the names of potential target companies from those internal emails during in-person meetings.

Niranjan used the confidential information passed by Goel to trade call options, including short-dated, out-of-the-money call options, in brokerage accounts that were in the name of Niranjan’s brother.

Goel and Niranjan agreed to split the profits from their trading, the Attorney said.

Between approximately 2017 and 2018, Goel tipped Niranjan on at least six deals in which Goldman Sachs was involved.

According to Bloomberg, Niranjan, after making some $280,000 in illegal profits by using the information, later flipped on his friend, Goel.

Niranjan recorded their conversations and cooperated with federal investigators before taking the stand at Goel’s trial in the Manhattan federal court.

The trial, which began on June 12, offered a striking portrait of a close Wall Street friendship torn asunder amid federal scrutiny, the Bloomberg report said.

According to Goel’s lawyers, it was “the ultimate betrayal”.

In his defence, Goel said that Niranjan set him up, but the jurors rejected his attempt to explain his side.

Between approximately May and June 2022, Goel also obstructed investigations by a Grand Jury in the Southern District of New York and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Specifically, he deleted and asked Niranjan to delete electronic communications regarding the insider trading scheme, including during an in-person meeting that Niranjan had consensually recorded.

Goel was convicted of four counts of securities fraud and one count of obstruction of justice, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and tender offer fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“Today’s verdict should remind those in the capital markets that if you engage in insider trading, we will catch you and hold you accountable,” Attorney Williams said.

Goel now faces prison and likely deportation to India.

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