- Last Updated: 3:35 AM, June 5, 2012
- Posted: 12:21 AM, June 5, 2012
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein yesterday squarely disputed his former director Rajat Gupta’s claim that Gupta was permitted to speak about details of a 2008 board meeting with his alleged co-conspirator, hedge-fund titan Raj Rajaratnam.
“Did you authorize Mr. Gupta to reveal any of the confidential information discussed at the board meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia?” prosecutor Reed Brodsky asked the CEO.
“No,” Blankfein said.
The details included directors discussing the possibility of Goldman buying a commercial bank or insurance company, including AIG, in the early days of the mortgage crisis.
Gupta stands accused of leaking tips to Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon Group, when he was serving on the boards of Goldman and Procter & Gamble.
Blankfein, one of the US’s last witnesses, is crucial to proving to the jury that Gupta was not allowed to blab about the private meeting.
The Gupta-Rajaratnam wiretapped call about the board meeting isn’t linked to any of the government’s charges — but prosecutors unleashed it nonetheless to show Gupta’s relationship with the hedgie.
There are no wiretaps showing Gupta tipping Rajaratnam to trades in the indictment against him.
Blankfein is the government’s most high-profile witness, and his presence attracted a throng of photographers to the downtown courthouse. Many stood outside for hours but never saw the CEO because he used a non-public side entrance.
Photogs were rewarded for their patience, however, when a limo rolled up curbside, and out popped — Paris Hilton.
Dressed in a blue suit with blue stockings and her signature oversized white sunglasses despite the overcast weather, Hilton willingly posed for photos. She was scheduled to attend a settlement conference over her thwarted lingerie line.
Inside the Gupta courtroom, Blankfein — dressed much more conservatively than Hilton — was asked about a series of confidential documents outlining Goldman’s financial health between 2007 and 2008, as well as documents showing when Gupta was alerted to these developments.
Despite testifying for nearly three hours, Blankfein will be called back as soon as tomorrow when court resumes.
Blankfein told Judge Jed Rakoff that Wednesday is inconvenient for him because he has to attend his daughter’s graduation.
After the morning graduation, Blankfein and his wife will be taking the children to a restaurant “in Yonkers” to celebrate, he told the judge.
The CEO fretted the restaurant is too far away to make it back to court in time.
The judge said he will consider the request but seemed satisfied that the CEO could get downtown in 45 minutes.
Gupta has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 25 years in prison.