Gupta insider-trading trial jury told of ‘top secret’ Buffett deal

NEW YORK,Wed May 23, 2012 – The deal that gave Goldman Sachs Group Inc. a $5-billion boost from renowned investor Warren Buffet at the height of the 2008 financial crisis was “as top secret as you could get,” a leading banker testified on Wednesday at the insider-trading trial of onetime Goldman board member Rajat Gupta.

Gupta is accused of tipping Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam about the deal in an illegal breach of his fiduciary duties.

Separately, a prosecutor told the judge on Wednesday, during a jury break, that a Goldman managing director, David Loeb, provided Rajaratnam with information about Intel Corp., Apple Inc. and Hewlett Packard.

Loeb’s name also came up Tuesday in evidence to the Manhattan federal court jury hearing the Gupta trial. A key defense argument is that Rajaratnam had sources other than Gupta to provide him confidential company information.

Loeb has not been charged. A Goldman spokesman declined to comment.

Former Goldman banker Byron Trott, a long-time Buffett confidant, told the jury that it was policy within a tightly-knit group of executives who negotiated such deals “never to talk about confidential information in public, or elevators. It was grounds for being fired.”