Hedge fund trader Michael Kimelman says Preet Bharara Sent Him to Jail to Advance his Own Career.
That’s according to 46-year-old Michael Kimelman, who served two years in prison for insider trading after getting caught in a web of prosecutions by the former US Attorney that fixed on convicted kingpin Raj Rajaratnam and his Galleon hedge fund.
Kimelman, whose November 2009 arrest came three weeks after Rajaratnam’s, insists his connection to Rajaratnam was fairly weak: namely, that his colleague Zvi Goffner once worked with Rajaratnam and sometimes traded with him.
In a new book out this month, “Confessions of a Wall Street Insider,” Kimelman details his arrest, conviction and prison sentence. He also harps on the tactics of Bharara who, according to Kimelman, played on the public’s distrust of Wall Street to quickly rack up 80 convictions.
“Top-down, you had the president calling Wall Street ‘fat cats’ — there was significant public anger and you could score political brownie points,” Kimelman, who maintains his innocence, told The Post last week.
He sat for an interview at a spartan Midtown apartment he’s now using as a makeshift office to pursue gigs in real estate and other investments.
Bharara, who was the first to broadcast the news that he was fired last week by President Trump, “went for the easy money and easy headlines in insider trading,” Kimelman said.
For example, Kimelman notes how one of his co-defendants, Zvi Goffner — whose guilt Kimelman does not dispute — was said to be nicknamed “Octopussy” in the government documents, despite Kimelman never hearing that nickname in years of working with him.
The government “has to spin a narrative,” Kimelman said, offering that the nickname played better in media than more arcane aspects of high finance.
Kimelman notes that his former colleague, Franz Tudor, sat next to him for a year and a half while wearing a wire as a government informant — yet was never called to the stand in Kimelman’s trial.
“That sort of says that this isn’t such a major conspiracy as you might have thought it was,” Kimelman said.
Indeed, Kimelman says the biggest reason for his conviction was likely his connection, however thin, to the Galleon crowd. His co-defendants meanwhile, used burner phones and paid bribes to get information and make illicit trades.
Kimelman spent nearly two years in the Lewisburg (federal) Penitentiary, which once housed the likes of John Gotti and Jimmy Hoffa. Kimelman’s marriage ended soon after his release.
“Almost no one knows Preet like I do, as almost no one lost more than I did,” Kimelman declared.
Bharara declined to comment.