SL-born hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam in the island for unknown mission
Sri Lankan-born Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, alleged of being the mastermind of the largest hedge-fund insider-trading deals in US history, is now in Sri Lanka and will meet some Sri Lankan politicians in the coming days, informed sources confirmed.
The reason for his visit to Sri Lanka is not known but this old Thomian’s affection for the island nation, especially the downtrodden in the North and East may bring some relief for the dollar starved country,economic analysts predicted.
He also held some considerable percentage of shares in leading business entities and two or three banks way back in 2009.
With few big companies to invest in, the Wall Street Journal said the total value of the stock market here is only around $10 billion at that time and Mr. Rajaratnam piled his money into the limited number of large, blue-chip shares.
He and his funds quickly became the biggest shareholders in many of Sri Lanka’s top companies.
Mr Rajaratnam is a Sri Lankan Tamil who immigrated to the US in 1981. He was an old boy of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia.
He grew up in a respected, middle-class family in Colombo. His father was the chairman of a sewing machine company, an important post in Sri Lanka’s garment exporting industry.
H left Sri Lanka to study at a young age and after getting a college degree at the University of Sussex in the U.K. and a business degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he started a career abroad.
Mr Rajaratnam had also been accused of giving more than US$3.5 million to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) whose assets were frozen by the US Treasury Department in Nov. 2007 because of its alleged ties to the Tiger terrorists.
Rajaratnam was also linked to the controversial US$ three million which was deposited at the Standard Chartered Bank Branch in Kirillopane without the authority of the Central Bank in 2006.
Mr. Rajaratnam was a frequent contributor to various causes, from those that promoted development in the Indian subcontinent to programs that benefited lower-income South Asian youth in the New York area.
The Wall Street Journal reported some times back that Mr. Rajaratnam was active politically. Data from the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks political contributions, shows Mr. Rajaratnam donated $26,200 to the Democratic Party’s fund-raising arm in 2007.
He also provided $4,600 in 2007 to the campaign of Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state, and $4,600 in 2008 to the campaign of President Barack Obama.
With about 18 people working or consulting for his family-office firm “Synamon” echoes the spice most associated with his native Sri Lanka he’s trading stocks, investing in real estate, whatever catches his eye.
Whether Rajaratnam can pick himself up after such a spectacular fall is anyone’s guess. But he still has the money to try.
The year in which he was arrested, Forbes estimated he was worth $1.3 billion. He says legal fees and fines cost him $200 million.