Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Anders Wallgren, AppDynamics Blog, Flint Brenton

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) or paperboy(at), 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

@CloudExpo Stories
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Today air travel is a minefield of delays, hassles and customer disappointment. Airlines struggle to revitalize the experience. GE and M2Mi will demonstrate practical examples of how IoT solutions are helping airlines bring back personalization, reduce trip time and improve reliability. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Dr. Sarah Cooper, M2Mi’s VP Business Development and Engineering, explored the IoT cloud-based platform technologies driving t...
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...