A former Goldman Sachs vice president was charged with insider trading — for allegedly tipping off his squash partner about possible mergers and acquisitions activity — in a scheme that netted the two men a combined $291,735 in profits over the span of multiple years.

Federal prosecutors announced charges against the Goldman alum Brijesh Goel, 37, and his squash partner Akshay Niranjan, 33, in the Southern District of New York on Monday. The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil charges against the men.

Goel — a Goldman banker from 2013 to 2021 — began sharing insider tips with a graduate school friend and Barclays trader Niranjan during squash games in 2017. Niranjan executed trades on the information about upcoming deals and split the winnings with Goel.

The two men even used code language that referenced their squash games — like  “Did you book the court?” — to coordinate trades, the filing alleges.

Goel, who had taken a lucrative job as principal at Apollo Global Management’s structured finance team in 2021, was placed on indefinite leave following the news. It’s unclear if Niranjan has been placed on leave from Barclays.

Damian Williams
Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York addressed reporters Monday.
AP
The former Goldman Sachs vice president was charged with sharing insider information with his squash partner.
The former Goldman Sachs vice president was charged with sharing insider information with his squash partner.
Shutterstock

“We are keenly interested in sending a message that insider trading is still around, we are still around, and we are going to enforce it when we find it,” Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York said in a press conference on Monday.

Indeed, even as Wall Street bonuses hit record highs, the allure of insider trading clearly still holds appeal for financiers. At Goldman, top performing VPs can haul in north of $800,000 on a good year. And at Apollo, compensation can swell well above $1 million.

Goel’s share of the profit — which comes out to less than $150,000 — pales in comparison to what he was making at both Goldman and Apollo.

Most of the tips were related to deals Goel was privy to — companies including Lumos Networks, PharMerica Corporation and Calgon Carbon — Niranjan bought call options on the companies, betting shares of the companies would go higher when deals were publicly announced.

Goldman Sachs slammed the illegal activity in a statement calling it “egregious and illegal conduct.”

An attorney for Goel said in a statement, “Sadly, the government rushed to charge Brijesh on the apparent say-so of one person about something that supposedly happened years ago before Brijesh’s current job — without giving Brijesh the chance to speak with them, unfairly tarring his name . . . Brijesh looks forward to demonstrating his innocence.”

Niranjan has yet to respond to the allegations. Barclays has yet to provide a comment on the matter.



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