The SEC’s New Insider Trading Case: A Preview of the Galleon Trial

The SEC’s New Insider Trading Case: A Preview of the Galleon Trial

The Galleon insider trading investigations continues to spawn more actions. Roomy Kahn, familiar to those who have followed the Galleon saga, and others players and even some allegations from the earlier cases form the backdrop of the SEC's latest insider trading to evolve from these inquiries.

SEC v. Feinblatt, Civil Action No. 11-CV-0170 (S.D.N.Y. Filed Jan 10, 2011) names as defendants: Robert Feinblatt and the company he co-founded, Trivium Capital Management LLC; Jeffrey Yokuty, an analyst at the company; Sunil Bhalla, formerly a Senior Vice President and General Manager of Polycom; and Shammara Hussain, formerly an employee of investment relations firm Market Street Partners which did work for Google. The case involves trading in the securities of Polycom, Hilton and Google, all of which have figured prominently in earlier cases. Echoing the recent expert network cases, the complaint alleges that Ms. Kahn began working for Trivium as a consultant in 2005. She provided research on the technology sector for a fee.

The SEC's complaint alleges insider trading claims which may, in part, be featured in up coming trial of Galleon founder Raj Rajaratnam. They focus around five key events:

Polycom's Q4 05 earnings: Mr. Bhalla of Pollycom tipped Ms. Kahn who tipped Messrs. Feinblatt and Yorkuty, each of whom traded along with Trivium. Previously, he had told the two men about an inside source at Polycom. The fund purchased about 325,000 shares which were sold after the earnings announcement for a profit of over $1.4 million. Ms. Kahn also tipped Raj Rajaratnam who traded

Polycom's Q106 earnings: Mr. Bhalla tipped Ms. Khan who in turn told Mr. Rajaratnam about the information. Ms. Khan traded as did Mr. Rajaratnam for Galleon.

Takeover of Hilton by Blackstone Group: Deep Shah, a Moody's analyst and a friend and roommate of Ms. Khan's cousin, tipped Ms. Kahn. She told Messrs. Feinblatt and Yokuty about the transaction. Ms. Kahn along with Messrs. Feinblatt and Yokuty and Trivium traded. Prior to the tip Trivium had a short position in Hilton. Immediately after the tip that position was liquidated and a substantial long position was established. That position was sold after the announcement at a profit of about $5.2 million loss. Covering the short position avoided a loss of about $4.9 million. Ms. Kahn also tipped Mr. Rajaratnam who traded for Galleon.

Google's 2Q07 earnings: Mr. Hussain, an employee of a firm doing work for Google, tipped Ms. Khan, informing her that Google's earnings would fall below expectations. She traded and passed the information to Messrs. Feinblatt and Yokuty who traded for Trivium. The two men purchased put options for Trivium which were liquidated after the earnings announcement at a profit of over $2.5 million. Ms. Kahn also tipped Thomas Hardin, a former Managing Director of Lanexa Management, a hedge fund, and Gautham Shankar, a trader at Schottenfeld Group LLC, who traded. Mr. Rajaratnam was also tipped by Ms. Kahn. He traded for Galleon.

Kranos acquisition by a private equity firm: Deep Shah, who obtained information on the deal from a friend who was an insider, tipped Ms. Khan about the deal. She traded. Ms. Kahn in turn tipped Messrs. Feinblatt and Yokuty who traded for Trivium. After the deal announcement the firm's position was liquidated at a profit of over $1.8 million. Ms. Hussain was also tipped by Ms. Kahn and traded in an account held by her parents.

The case is in litigation.

For more cutting edge commentary on developing securities issues, visit SEC Actions, a blog by Thomas Gorman.

Read court documents and commentary on the SEC civil injunction action against Raj Rajaratnam and Galleon Management (SEC v. Galleon Mgmt., LP, 09 Civ. 8811)

For more information:

Insider trading is discussed in greater detail in 6 A.A. Sommer Jr., Securities Law Techniques, Ch. 80 (Matthew Bender Rev. Ed.), " Insider Trading Under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act," which can be accessed online by subscribers of lexis.com.  This treatise is also available in the LexisNexis online store.