Microsoft Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Serafima Al, Janakiram MSV, John Katrick

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Why IBM’s Server Chief Got Busted

The FBI figures New Castle was up about $500,000 on Moffat’s information

The United States government has accused Robert Moffat, IBM’s server chief, the guy who was negotiating to buy Sun, with betraying Sun’s financial position to Danielle Chiesi, an employee of New Castle Partners, a New York hedge fund, so she could trade on the insider information.

Moffat knew what Sun’s numbers were going to be because he was one of the nine IBMers doing due diligence at Sun this past January.

In a wire-tapped phone call Chiesi made to an unidentified person now cooperating with the government’s investigation she said, “IBM is looking at it as a takeover. The only reason my guy would know that is because it’s his deal. Like, he’s in bed with them….You see what I mean…not because he’s just speculating.”

The news that IBM was negotiating to buy Sun didn’t leak to the Wall Street Journal and hence to the world for another two months.

Armed with the foreknowledge allegedly provided by Moffat that Sun was going to beat the Street – top and bottom – when it reported its December ’08 quarter, New Castle bought Sun shares just hours before Sun posted its numbers on January 27 and made a $900,000 killing on the deal.

The government says Moffat had practice slipping Chiesi insider financial information. When the global economy started melting down last year, he had dinner with her in early September, before IBM’s quarter closed, and reassured her that IBM would pull it out. According to a taped phone call with an unidentified affiliate of New Castle, she said, “He’s saying, you know, [IBM’s] zSeries looks really good. He’s saying that everything looks fine but…it comes down to the…final last week. But he thinks right now that they are on track. As of right now he’s not even worried a little bit, I mean, we think we can beat the numbers this quarter.” Chiesi apparently held onto her position in IBM’s stock.

Then again this past January, when IBM was due to report the results of its December quarter and Chiesi had spoken with Moffat New Castle covered a short position in IBM stock and began picking up more shares.

The government tap found her explaining to the person who’s now a government witness, “I’m buying IBM going into the print,” Wall Street parlance for IBM posting its numbers. “If I wasn’t closer to the situation I’d be, I would so short this fucking thing. But I’m thinking they could beat, and they really could guide up….You know, my guy said easily they could, they could add 30 cents to the bottom line. Easily, easily. That’s what he says, to the bottom line in ’09….I don’t think anybody is talking about a beat this quarter.”

The government’s complaint notes that on January 20 IBM’s Q4 earnings beat analyst expectations by 25 cents and that it expected to do 27 cents better this year than last.

The FBI figures New Castle was up about $500,000 on Moffat’s information.

Three months later Chiesi flat out asked Moffat what IBM’s quarter looked like. She was apparently told the company would miss on revenues by 7%, “miss the short-term signings but make total signings” and earnings per share would be “good,” which is exactly what happened on April 20.

Having made money on Sun’s financial results once, Chiesi got her “ass kicked,” she’s reported saying, on Sun stock when Oracle unexpectedly waltzed in with a $9.50-a-share bid to acquire the company on April 20, supporting the widely held perception that IBM was dumbfounded at the move.

Chiesi was short the stock allegedly because Moffat had told her Sun’s revenues would be down 27% when it reported its March quarter. The Street only estimated it would be down 17%. She was also gambling on Moffat telling her if IBM was going to buy Sun. She hadn’t reckoned on Oracle or Moffat not knowing what was going on.

Moffat is charged with three counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one each for Sun and IBM and the third for AMD, where Moffat in his capacity as head of IBM Microelectronics was in on AMD’s negotiations to spin off its factories into a joint venture with the government of Abu Dhabi. IBM would have to license the venture some of its technology.

In the AMD case they seem to have proven inept conspirators and Chiesi even had a pipeline into AMD in the form of a chatty unidentified AMD executive who apparently hasn’t been charged with any crime. For all the reported discussions between Moffat and Chiesi of the deal’s structure, terms, voting rights, dilution, government approvals, management and timing of the announcement, the government thinks New Castle didn’t profit from its trades in AMD stock “due in part to a global financial crisis that precipitated a broad decline in stock markets in or about September and October 2008.”

New Castle had bought a swat of AMD at $5.44 and another at $4.50 pre-announcement and didn’t begin selling until the price had sunk to $4.25. However, the government’s not sure that New Castle didn’t avoid certain losses by selling put options the day before the announcement, which the hedge fund knew was set for October 7, 2008.

The FBI says Chiesi had been worried that she “would make so much money that her trading might the attention of regulators” so maybe she was relieved in a way.

By her own admission she would never have dabbled in AMD stock without having an inside track. She told New Castle president Mark Kurland that “Unless you were on the phone with [the AMD executive] and had Moffat at you house last night, who the fuck would be buying it honestly.” And to the alleged kingpin of the scheme, billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, now out on $100 million bail, she was overheard to say she “wouldn’t of touched [AMD’s stock] with a fucking 10-foot pole” if she “wasn’t close to the company.”

According to the US Attorney Moffat is looking at doing five years in jail and paying a fine of $250,000 or twice his gross gain or loss. His playmates are looking at worse.

It’s unclear from either of the two complaints that the government filed with the federal court in New York Friday how exactly Moffat was to benefit financially from the intrigue.

He was the only one of the six people in the ring charged Friday to turn himself in. They went and arrested the others. It’s unclear whether he’s still working for IBM, the company not being exactly forthcoming right now. His bio had disappeared from IBM’s site by early Saturday morning. IBM executives, by the way, are supposed to be well-compensated.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Most Recent Comments
MADAME P J BAILEY 10/22/09 11:37:33 AM EDT

Moffat & IBM CEO Palmisano made parallel IBM stock trades on 08-21-08. Palmisano cleaned out the till on August 28, 2009. Will Palmisano's arrest be next ? Visit - ibmTheWidowMaker com

@ThingsExpo Stories
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that "Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO" has announced that its Call for Papers is now open. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Financial enterprises in New York City, London, Singapore, and other world financial capitals are embracing a new generation of smart, automated FinTech that eliminates many cumbersome, slow, and expe...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...