The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund

By William Kustiono

On Thursday, June 6, 2013, Asia Society presents Anita Raghavan in the discussion about her latest book, “The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund”. Anite Raghavan was born in Malaysia but came to the United States in 1970. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she has spend eighteen years at the Wall Street Journal. She also received the Overseas Press Club and the New York Press Club award. Joining her in the discussion is Naazneen Karmali, she is India Editor of Forbes Asia and Mumbai bureau manager of Forbes.

The Billionaire’s Apprentice: The Rise of the Indian-American Elite and the Fall of the Galleon Hedge Fund is a documentary book about Raj Rajaratnam/Galleon Group, Anil Kumar, and Rajat Gupta insider trading cases. Raj Rajaratnam from a hedge fund company named Galleon Group managed to receive confidential information about hedge fund trades that he uses to increase his own wealth. There are several people involved in this event such as Anil Kumar and Rajat Gupta, the executives of McKinsey & Company.

The discussion talks about her experience creating her book, how she spent two years researching articles, gathering information and interviewing people that contribute to her ideas. She totally understood the dynamics of the story since she is familiar and fond with South Asia’s culture and demographics. When she had an interview with Raj in Calcutta, she found out that he was affected by his father’s debt. This somehow prompts an idea to have an insider trading. And perhaps when the economic meltdown happened in 2008, this also further strengthens his desire to do the trading. Several people were caught in this insider trading when they were found guilty by USAO (United States Attorney’s Office). The USAO wiretapped and recorded every single conversation they have conducted, this will allegation has involved many people over the course of two years.

Anita further explained that reading her book would gain extensive knowledge about what really happened during the two years of the case. How Indian-American is different than people from India. How the Indian could rose into a high position in major companies. She also wants to bring Indian cultural diversity to the American culture, she mentioned that the Indian community in America was large in number, they are economically stable, and it should be celebrated as strength not weakness.

At the end of the session, she has several questions given by the audience in particularly related to the insider trading case. One of the them asks her about other message besides presenting the story about India’s people rise into a prominent economic sector. Anita believes that her book could give a better understanding about some of the good ethic works should be remembered and implemented in the trading.

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