Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Rich Waidmann, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, SOA & WOA

Virtualization: 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

@CloudExpo Stories
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, ...
IBM has announced a new strategic technology services agreement with Anthem, Inc., a health benefits company in the U.S. IBM has been selected to provide operational services for Anthem's mainframe and data center server and storage infrastructure for the next five years. Among the benefits of the relationship, Anthem has the ability to leverage IBM Cloud solutions that will help increase the ease, availability and speed of adding infrastructure to support new business requirements.
“DevOps is really about the business. The business is under pressure today, competitively in the marketplace to respond to the expectations of the customer. The business is driving IT and the problem is that IT isn't responding fast enough," explained Mark Levy, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Serena Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, explored the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, wa...
Software AG and Wipro Ltd. have announced a joint solution platform for streaming analytics that provides real-time actionable intelligence for the Internet of Things (IoT) market. “The key to successfully addressing the IoT market is the ability to rapidly build and evolve apps that tap into, analyze and make smart decisions on fast, big data”, said John Bates, Global Head of Industry Solutions and CMO, Software AG. To address the huge market potential created by streaming analytics in conj...
Appcore deploys cloud for service providers based on the Apache Cloud set. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Nate Gordon, Director of Technology at Appcore, shows their new product that's coming out in January - Appcore Atlas, which is focused on deploying private clouds based on CloudStack in 15 minutes or less. Our upcoming June 9-11, 2015, event in New York City will present a total of 10 simultaneous tracks (the largest conference content in the world) by an all-star faculty, over three days...
Amazon, Google and Facebook are household names in part because of their mastery of Big Data. But what about organizations without billions of dollars to spend on Big Data tools - how can they extract value from their data? In his session at 6th Big Data Expo®, Ali Ghodsi, Co-Founder and Head of Engineering at Databricks, discussed how the zero management cost and scalability of the cloud is addressing the challenges and pain points that data engineers face when working with Big Data. He also s...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
CA Technologies released a new study – “DevOps: The Worst-Kept Secret to Winning in the Application Economy” – that reveals that 82% of enterprises in Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) already have or plan to adopt a DevOps strategy, a 12 point increase from last year’s figure of 70%. DevOps is a methodology which helps foster collaboration between the teams that create and test applications (Dev) with those that maintain them in production environments (Ops). Vanson Bourne conducted the survey with...
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
SYS-CON Events announced today that that Innodisk, the service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Innodisk is a service-driven provider of industrial embedded flash and DRAM storage products and technologies. With satisfied customers across the embedded, aerospace and defense, cloud storage markets an...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective ...
At 15th Cloud Expo, Shrikant Pattathil, Executive Vice President at Harbinger Systems, demos a video delivery platform that helps you do interactive videos. He discusses how Harbinger is accomplishing it in the cloud world, the problems they faced and the choices they made to get around these problems.
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's

The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps become...
Building low-cost wearable devices can enhance the quality of our lives. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Sai Yamanoor, Embedded Software Engineer at Altschool, provided an example of putting together a small keychain within a $50 budget that educates the user about the air quality in their surroundings. He also provided examples such as building a wearable device that provides transit or recreational information. He then reviewed the resources available to build wearable devices at ...
Mobile commerce traffic is surpassing desktop, yet less than 20% of sales in the U.S. are mobile commerce sales. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Franklin, Segment Manager, Commerce, at Verizon Digital Media Services, defined mobile devices and discussed how next generation means simplification. It means taking your digital content and turning it into instantly gratifying experiences.