Even as a former Barclays Plc trader was profiting from insider trading, he said his day job and personal life were falling apart.
Akshay Niranjan, who traded foreign currency options for Barclays, said his trading book had been wiped out in May 2017. He also broke up with his fiancee and considered leaving New York and going back to India. But the same month he scored a profit of almost $30,000 by trading on inside information from a friend who worked at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., he said.
Niranjan is the government’s star witness in a Manhattan insider-trading prosecution of Goldman Sach’s former vice president Brijesh Goel. The two were close, squash-playing friends whose ties were ripped apart amid the government investigation of the alleged insider-trading scheme.
Under cross-examination by Goel’s lawyer, Reed Brodsky, Niranjan said his bet on Patheon BV options, placed on a tip from Goel weeks before the company announced it was being acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., was good news.
“At the time, yes,” said Niranjan. “But today, sitting here, it’s terrible news. It’s one of the worst days.”
Brodsky pressed him on his performance at the bank. “You had spent months having a profit on your book,” the lawyer said.
“In one day at Barclays I lost Barclays money,” Niranjan replied.
Brodsky’s questioning was an attempt to undermine the testimony Niranjan had given the day before, when he said he had made more than $280,000 in illicit profits trading options in his brother’s online accounts based on tips from Goel.
Under questioning by prosecutor Sam Rothschild Wednesday, Niranjan said he acted on Goel’s recommendations, like purchasing options in Patheon, but eventually came to believe that his friend was acting on information gleaned from confidential Goldman memos.
Brodsky pointed out that one of the trades allegedly recommended by Goel involved Chicago Bridge & Iron Co., which was subsequently acquired by McDermott International Inc.
The lawyer pointed out that Barclays also advised on the transaction. Brodsky presented evidence indicating that Niranjan, even while placing options orders on the company, had received a notice from his employer restricting trading in the stock.
“I don’t remember,” Niranjan said. “I was not brought over the wall with respect to this transaction.”
Niranjan’s cross examination continues tomorrow and the government said it expects to rest by the end of the day.