A top IBM executive is among six people charged by US authorities over an alleged $20 million hedge fund insider trading scam involving some of the world's biggest technology companies.
Two criminal complaints filed allege the scheme centred around Sri Lankan billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who works at Galleon Group.
Along with Danielle Chiesi, a former Bear employee who now works for the New Castle hedge fund and her colleague Mark Kurland, Rajaratnam is accused of repeatedly trading on material, non-public information.
The information - pertaining to things such as upcoming earnings forecasts and mergers and acquisitions - was given as tips by insiders and others at firms including Intel, IBM, McKinsey and Moody's Investors Services.
Also arrested for their part in the alleged case were Robert Moffat, senior vice president and group executive for IBM's Systems and Technology group, Rajiv Goel, director of strategic investments at Intel Capital and Anil Kumar of McKinsey.
Prosecutors say insider trading took place in stocks of at least 12 companies, including IBM, Sun Microsystems, AMD and Google.
The FBI used court-authorised wiretaps to gather information on the trades, the first time the technology has been used to target Wall Street insider trading.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also filed civil charges against the six individuals as well as Galleon and New Castle.
Robert Khuzami, director, enforcement division, SEC, says: "What we have uncovered in the trading activities of Raj Rajaratnam is that the secret of his success is not genius trading strategies. He is not the astute study of company fundamentals or marketplace trends that he is widely thought to be. Raj Rajaratnam is not a master of the universe, but rather a master of the rolodex."
IBM's Moffat has been put on leave of absence.