Thursday, August 11, 2022

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SL billionaire Raj Rajaratnam now out of Jail eyes for next big trade

Sri lankan billionaire businessman Raj Rajaratnam who served a jail term of 11 years in the US for insider trading is ready to embark on his next big trade after resuming his business inside the townhouse in Manhattan’s East 50s.

With about 18 people working or consulting for his family-office firm — the name “Synamon” echoes the spice most associated with his native Sri Lanka — he’s trading stocks, investing in real estate, whatever catches his eye. .

Whether Rajaratnam can pick himself up after such a spectacular fall is anyone’s guess. But he still has the money to try. The year was arrested, Forbes estimated he was worth $1.3 billion. He says legal fees and fines cost him $200 million. As for what he’s worth today? “Subtract that from whatever number you think I had,” he says with a laugh.

It’s been three years since the former hedge-fund magnate was freed from FMC Devens, the medical prison west of Boston where he did time with Ponzi schemer Nicholas Cosmo, AKA, the “mini-Madoff”, among others.

In his heyday at his multibillion-dollar Galleon Group LLC, computer screens crowded his huge, curved desk, monitoring markets around the globe. Here at Synamon Global LLC, Rajaratnam works at a utilitarian glass-topped table that looks as if it might’ve come from Ikea

His company specialized in technology and healthcare, waters Rajaratnam is still plying today. Synamon’s investments include companies in medical technology, cloud computing, cybersecurity and clean energy, including electric vehicles.

Its real estate investment business is buying residential properties in New York and in 10 states across the South, he says. His employees include recent college students who are working for him as analysts. The US staff is spread among New York, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. A team in Sri Lanka covers e-commerce.

Government authorities called Rajaratnam “a billion-dollar force of deception and corruption on Wall Street.” Tapping a network of informants across swaths of corporate America, he illegally used inside information to trade stocks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Google, Intel Corp. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, prosecutors said. His trading generated profits or avoided losses of $72 million, not quite $10 million for each year he served in prison.

The explosive case exposed the trafficking in illicit information at the highest echelons of American finance. Roughly a hundred other people were eventually ensnared by insider trading cases. Most pleaded guilty or, like Rajaratnam, were convicted by a jury.

Among those who went to prison were Rajat Gupta, former global head of McKinsey & Co. and former board member for Goldman Sachs, who blamed Rajaratnam for his downfall.

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