Court papers name Akamai tipster in insider-trading investigation

Federal court papers name a former Akamai Technologies employee who allegedly revealed insider information to stock traders who were later charged with reaping millions of dollars from the information in what the FBI calls the largest hedge fund insider-trading case in history.

Kieran Taylor, the former senior director of product marketing at content delivery network services company Akamai, was named in court documents as giving information to members of New Castle Funds and Galleon Management, who traded the company’s stock to make millions, according to a report in the Boston Globe and an earlier press statement from the Department of Justice.

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Insider information used by the traders also came from sources within other companies including Intel, IBM and Polycom, the DoJ says, and was used to make profits from the sale of stocks in Akamai, AMD,  Clearwire, Google, Hilton Hotels, People Support and Polycom.

Galleon Group employees made more than $25 million using similar insider information from other companies in combination with the Akamai information. The case is part of a larger investigation of insider trading that gathered up former IBM executive Robert Moffat.

In a press release at the time charges were brought against the Galleon Group employees in October 2009, an unnamed Akamai executive was quoted as offering information to one of the traders, Danielle Chiesi of New Castle, during a wiretapped phone call.

Someone identified in an earlier press statement as an Akamai executive said, "Danielle, I have a major present for you." Chiesi asked what he was talking about, and the Akamai executive replied, "Information." Chiesi said, "Well that, that is a great present."

An earlier phone call between Chiesi and her boss, a top New Castle executive named Mark Kurland, was quoted as follows:

Chiesi: "Do you want me to call [the Akamai Executive] up? It's a pretty [expletive] scary thing to do."

Kurland: "Call him.... Let him talk."

Kurland pleaded guilty to two counts of securities fraud last January. Chiesi has pleaded innocent and a trial is expected in April.

The insiders doing the trading were shorting the stock – borrowing it, selling it, waiting a period to buy the same number of shares back at a lower price, returning the stock to the lender and pocketing the profit. The insider information is key, because the insider trader wants assurance that the stock price will actually drop.

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Tim Greene

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