For those wanting an in-depth look at the recent prosecution and conviction of Galleon chief Raj Rajaratnam and the culture of illegal information and investments in which he traded, you can't do much better than George Packer's lengthy dual profile in the most recent New Yorker. The nearly 11,000-word feature gives a very close look at both Rajaratnam, who in May was found guilty on 14 charges of insider trading, and Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor who lead the case against him. Through the piece we meet myriad supporting characters, who Packer uses to enlighten us both about the scene and the central personalities.
There's Anil Kumar, the McKinsey consultant who Rajaratnam persuaded to feed him information and who would later become the government's lead witness. Packer uses their relationship to illuminate the previously behind-the-scenes dealings among a group of college friends with ties to the Indian sub-continent. "In an earlier generation of immigrant financiers, Kumar would have been the German Jew, Rajaratnam the Russian." There's Adam Smith, the cutthroat young trader who became a diligent student of Rajaratnam's methodology. He was "the sort of ambitious financier who worked hard, did his homework, and cheated, too." And there's Bharara himself, who until now hasn't spoken at length about the prosecution but who clearly feels the pressure of his critics. "Sometimes people say, 'It's because you're beholden to these guys,' which doesn't make any sense. Do we look like we're afraid to prosecute anyone?"
There are some wonderful reporting tidbits, too, aside from an excellently told story. Packer uncovered a letter sent from Rajaratnam's reporter John Dowd to Wall Street Journal reporter Chad Bray:
This is the worst piece of whoring journalism I have read in a long time. How long are you going to suck Preet’s teat?
All to hurt a decent, honest witness, Brodsky could not lay a glove on. ... Preet is scared shitless he is going to lose this case so he feeds his whores at the WSJ.
What a disgrace for an otherwise great paper.
If you've got the time, this is a worthwhile long read. If not, well, break it up into sections and tackle it that way. Rajaratnam's not going anywhere.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.