Gupta’s lawyer asks witness if Galleon traders exaggerated

Goldman Sachs director allegedly tipped Raj Rajaratnam

Rajat Gupta (left) and Gary Naftalis Rajat Gupta (left) and Gary Naftalis

May 30 (Bloomberg) -- A lawyer for former Procter & Gamble Co. director Rajat Gupta, who’s on trial for insider trading, cross-examined a government witness on whether Raj Rajaratnam and Galleon Group LLC traders “exaggerated” and “bragged” about having sources of inside information.

Gupta, who ran McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003 and was a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director, is accused of leaking tips about P&G and Goldman Sachs to Rajaratnam, the Galleon co- founder who was his friend and business partner.

Michael Cardillo, an ex-Galleon portfolio manager who pleaded guilty and is cooperating with prosecutors, testified last week before a jury in federal court in Manhattan that he traded on P&G stock in 2009 after learning that Rajaratnam had a “guy” on the company’s board.

In cross-examination today, Gupta’s lawyer, Gary Naftalis, asked Cardillo about Rajaratnam and other Galleon traders’ claims about their sources of illegal tips.

“Were there others at Galleon who claimed to have sources of inside information that they did not have?” Naftalis asked. After an objection by prosecutors, U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff barred Cardillo from answering. The government alleges Gupta was the person on the P&G board.

“At morning meetings with Raj Rajaratnam, did people talk about or exaggerate their sources of inside information from time to time?” Naftalis asked.

“There were rare occasions when it happened,” Cardillo said.

Kraft Talk

Naftalis asked Cardillo if he’d ever heard Raj Rajaratnam, his brother R.K. Rajaratnam or other Galleon traders talk about sources of illegal tips about companies such as Kraft Foods Inc. or Chico’s FAS Inc.

Cardillo said he once witnessed the brothers discussing the possibility of Kraft’s acquiring the chocolate maker Cadbury Plc. R.K. Rajaratnam worked at Kraft before joining Galleon as a portfolio manager, Cardillo said.

“Raj had said to R.K., ‘You’ll get the heads-up if this is coming together. You’ll get the heads-up on that,’” Cardillo said. “I didn’t know if it was feasible or probable.”

“You were skeptical?” Naftalis asked Cardillo.

“Yes, I didn’t think he was ever going to get that information.”

Kraft didn’t make the acquisition until 2010.

Michael Mitchell, a Kraft spokesman, declined to comment immediately on the testimony.

Cardillo testified earlier that R.K. Rajaratnam, who ran a commodities fund at Galleon, told him to trade P&G stock in 2009 after learning that Raj Rajaratnam had a contact who was a P&G director.

‘Raj’s Guy’

“He told me he was hearing from Raj’s guy on the P&G board,” Cardillo told jurors during his direct testimony by the government.

Gupta, who pleaded not guilty, is charged with conspiracy and securities fraud, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. The government alleges Gupta was the person on the P&G board who passed Rajaratnam the inside information and that his tips included leaks about P&G’s 2008 sale of its Folgers coffee unit to J.M. Smucker Co. and P&G earnings in January 2009.

Naftalis has argued to the jury that the government has the wrong man on trial and that Raj Rajaratnam “had sources all over town” for illegal tips.

Rajaratnam is serving an 11-year prison term for trading on inside information on a series of stocks, including Goldman Sachs, Intel Corp., Google Inc., ATI Technologies Inc. and Clearwire Corp.

Next page: Cardillo's plea

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