Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Brijesh Goel asked a judge to give him no prison time for his insider trading conviction and apologized to the bank for his actions.
(Bloomberg) — Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. banker Brijesh Goel asked a judge to give him no prison time for his insider trading conviction and apologized to the bank for his actions.
Goel, who was found guilty in June of passing inside information on Goldman deals to a close friend, said in a Wednesday court filing that he now faced deportation from the US to his native India due to his conviction. The potential separation from his wife, who works as a doctor in New York, and other friends and family in the US was punishment enough, he said.
The former Goldman vice president is due to be sentenced Nov. 1 by US District Judge P. Kevin Castel in Manhattan. Prosecutors will also recommend a sentence to Castel and are likely to seek prison time. The most serious charge of which he was convicted carries a maximum term of 20 years, though Goel is unlikely to receive such a lengthy sentence.
Goel passed tips to Akshay Niranjan, a Barclays Plc trader who had been a classmate at University of California, Berkeley’s business school. The details of their close relationship, including copious drug use, regular squash matches and music festivals, heightened the drama of Goel’s trial, where Niranjan was the prosecution’s star witness against his onetime friend.
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At his trial, Goel tried to argue that he was set up by Niranjan. But in a statement accompanying his sentencing submission, Goel said there was no excuse for his conduct and expressed remorse to Goldman and others.
“I failed in my responsibility to adhere to the proper level of care required for guarding non-public material information I received in my position at the firm,” he said. “I am extremely sorry, first and foremost to Goldman Sachs for failing at the duties I was entrusted with.”
Goel did say, however, that his relationship with Niranjan was a turning point in what he depicted as a life previously characterized by hard work and integrity. He said Niranjan was someone with whom he could be open about personal struggles and their relationship was, in some ways, closer than with his wife.
“For my entire life, I had no one with whom I could discuss personal issues,” Goel said. Their discussions mixed the personal and professional, he said, and eventually crossed a line. In a change from his position at trial, though, Goel said he didn’t blame Niranjan in any way for his actions.
In his sentencing submission, Goel’s lawyers suggested it was unfair that Niranjan, who placed the trades and made most of the $280,000 in illegal profits from the scheme, had been given a non-prosecution agreement and would face no punishment for the same conduct.
Goel also noted that, as a deportable immigrant convicted of a crime, he would be ineligible to serve a US prison sentence in a minimum-security facility, as would be typical for a first-time, non-violent offender. Instead, he would have to be housed in at least a low-security facility which could include inmates convicted of violent crimes.
“A custodial sentence would be a dramatically harsher punishment for Mr. Goel than for a US citizen convicted of the same offenses,” his lawyers said.
Goel submitted dozens of letters from friends, family and others urging leniency from the judge. Several noted that his career in finance was essentially over. Both Goel, who had moved from Goldman to a position at Apollo Global Management before his arrest, and Niranjan were let go from their positions after the case was announced.
“He will likely never work on Wall Street ever again,” Nadeem Waeen, a lawyer who worked with Goel when he was at Apollo, wrote. “The stigma of a felony conviction will be a scarlet letter that will endure for the rest of his life.”
Goel himself also expressed regret for his ruined career.
“The saddest part was that I didn’t even need the additional money,” he wrote. “I earned a good living and enjoyed a comfortable life. Regardless, I committed a crime and must pay the price.”
The case is US v. Goel, 22-cr-00396, US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan)
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