The author has done a superb job of detailing the crimes of a small cabal of Indian-Americans at the highest echelons of business and finance in America. Her account is unrelenting and unforgiving despite her admitted difficulty in broadcasting the dark side of her own community. That she has been a professional writer for a major financial magazine for years is evident in the clear prose and accurate reporting.
The book will probably be of primary interest to those in the South Asian community, especially Indian-Americans in the world of business and finance. It focuses largely on the three Indian defendants in the largest insider trading case in American history, Rajaratnam, Kumar, and Gupta, and it includes their family backstories in rather great detail. This was of little interest to me, not being a member of that community and having almost no familiarity with India, its culture, and its broad diversity of culture, religion, language, and geography. Considerable emphasis was also placed upon the irony of the role of major Indian prosecution team players. Both the lead SEC attorney and the Manhattan U.S. Attorney were Indian-American and dogged in their pursuit of the insider traders.
Although not interested in the Indian diaspora per se, I was, however, fascinated by the crime itself — its brazenness, its sleaziness, the arrogance of the defendants, Raj Rajaratnam and Roomy Khan in particular. The lead FBI agent, B.J. Kang, is mentioned several times, but I would have liked to have read more about the FBI investigation. I was also disappointed that the scope of the investigation was not emphasized more. More than twenty defendants were convicted, and there may still be spinoff cases being pursued. I understand the author’s perspective was more on the Indian diaspora than the crimes themselves, but I do wish she had at least included in the afterword a list or table of all the defendants, their titles or employment while they were engaged in insider trading, and what their final sentences or job losses were. Danielle Chiesi deserves a few lines at least.
The review by Publishers Weekly is truly on target. I found this to be a mediocre book, which could have included more pertinent detail, although I did find this one passage (pp. 139,140) interesting: (1994) "For its submission, the team from McKinsey India (McKinsey & Company's Indian office) stripped the gross domestic product of two countries, the United States and Germany, analyzed every profession and every industry, and looked at what work could be moved offshore. If a job depended on local know-how or connections, it couldn't be transplanted, but if a job wasn't location-specific, it could be moved anywhere. ..... Extrapolating the results from the United States and Germany globally, the McKinsey India team estimated that $1 trillion worth of work could move to lower-cost high-skills locations such as India over the next two to three decades." (My comment: And people wonder why jobs are so difficult to find today!) [FYI to the author: Exactly how many people's ancestors arrived with an already guaranteed job on a foreign worker visa (can you say scab visa?)?]
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