**Goldman Sachs Vice President Denies Passing Confidential Tips in Insider Trading Case**
Former Goldman Sachs Vice President, Brijesh Goel, has testified in federal court, denying allegations that he passed confidential tips to a friend, Akshay Niranjan. The two men are accused of conspiring to make illegal profits from trading on inside information. In a surprising move, Goel took the stand to defend himself against Niranjan’s testimony, which detailed how they allegedly made approximately $280,000 through insider trading. This trial has not only exposed the alleged fraudulent activities but has also strained the friendship between the two bankers.
**Goel’s Decision to Testify Carries Risks**
While not obligated to testify, Goel took the risk of openly addressing the allegations against him. This decision allows prosecutors to cross-examine him and potentially challenge his testimony. However, Goel also had the opportunity to explain seemingly incriminating evidence, such as a recorded conversation in which he allegedly asked Niranjan to delete text messages that could be used against them. Goel claims that the conversation was a result of panic and a lapse in judgment.
**The Friendship Turned Sour**
Goel and Niranjan were close friends, having met during their time at the University of California in Berkeley and subsequently working together on Wall Street. However, their friendship began to crumble under the weight of a federal investigation. Niranjan, seeking a deal with the government to avoid prosecution, decided to cooperate and testified against Goel. The trial has shed light on the fact that even strong friendships can be tested when facing legal scrutiny.
**Goel’s Attempts to Contact Niranjan**
Following an unsettling FBI visit, Goel made multiple attempts to reach out to Niranjan but was unsuccessful. In one instance, Goel had the building staff place a call to Niranjan, asking him to bring down his “swim cap” as an excuse to meet. Goel expressed his naivety in believing that their friendship was the cause of his involvement in the investigation and subsequent legal troubles.
**Defense Alleges Niranjan’s Eavesdropping and Misappropriation**
Goel’s legal team argued that Niranjan had been eavesdropping on Goel’s work calls with his colleagues at Goldman Sachs during their social outings. They claimed that Niranjan traded on the information he overheard about potential mergers and acquisitions. The defense maintained that it was Niranjan, not Goel, who misappropriated the confidential information.
Niranjan admitted that Goel occasionally took work calls while they were out with friends, but he denied actively eavesdropping. According to Niranjan, Goel would usually distance himself from the group to conduct his business. This conflicting testimony presents a challenge for the court to determine the credibility of each banker’s recounting of events.
In a case that has unveiled the alleged misdeeds of two former friends and colleagues, Brijesh Goel’s decision to testify in his own defense is a high-stakes move. The trial will continue in the US District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), where the court will ultimately decide the fate of the two individuals accused of profiting from insider trading.