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Ex-Goldman Banker Takes Stand In Risky Insider-Dealing Denial

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Ex-Goldman Banker Takes Stand In Risky Insider-Dealing Denial

(CTN News) – The former vice president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. testified that he did not pass on confidential information to a friend who claims that he and the friend conspired to make thousands of dollars by trading on inside information.

Brijesh Goel took the witness stand in federal court in Manhattan on Friday, an unusual move in fraud trials. He defended himself against the testimony of his friend Goldman Akshay Niranjan, the government’s star witness.

Through trading on Goel’s confidential information, Niranjan Goldman and his partners made approximately $280,000 in illegal profits over the course of three days.

Even the strongest friendship can crumble under the pressure of a federal investigation or trial, which began last week.

This decision carries risks since Goel was not required to testify. During cross-examination, prosecutors will attempt to tangle him up on his testimony, but he can also attempt to explain seemingly incriminating evidence such as a secret conversation Niranjan recorded in which his friend allegedly asked him to delete incriminating text messages, in order to explain his behavior.

It needs to be deleted,” Goel stated in the recording. “Did we make any trade? It needs to be deleted. I do not even have this conversation.”

Goel, however, testified that the conversation was not as it appeared.

Goel said, “I panicked. I thought that he had committed something stupid. I thought that through his stupidity he would get into trouble, and I would also get into trouble. There had been a lapse in judgment on both of our parts.”

The two friends met in business school at the University of California in Berkeley and became close friends after landing top jobs on Wall Street. As part of an agreement not to prosecute Niranjan, he agreed to cooperate with the government.

They both lived in the same building on Spruce Street in lower Manhattan. Following an FBI visit that left him feeling rattled, Goel attempted to contact Niranjan multiple times without success.

He explained that he used codes such as “swim cap” to persuade Niranjan to meet him because he believed Niranajan feared being tracked and wanted to avoid direct contact.

Goel stated, “I had naively assumed that I was involved in this investigation and this mess because he was Goldman my friend.”.

According to Goel’s Goldman attorneys, Niranjan eavesdropped on Goel’s work calls with his Goldman colleagues during social outings and traded information about potential mergers and acquisitions. In their opinion, Goel did not misappropriate the information.

As Niranjan admitted, Goel did occasionally take business calls while out with friends, but he normally conducted his business away from the group.

“I did not listen, I was not trying to listen in,” he stated.

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