Trading Inside Information Was ‘Like an Orgasm’ for Danielle Chiesi


People who engage in insider trading are usually motivated by greed and power. Danielle Chiesi was motivated by sexual gratification, according to a story in Fortune this month about the analyst who was arrested as part of a sting against the Galleon Group last fall and her affair with Bob Moffat, the executive at IBM she allegedly bilked for info. The story, which reads more like a hilarious bodice-ripper than a piece of financial journalism, reports that Chiesi didn't earn that much by Wall Street standards on her trades — less than $1 million most years and $2 million in her best year — but money wasn't what she was after. According to the people who knew her and/or their imaginations, when it came to information, she was insatiable.

Poor Bob Moffat was merely a victim of her voracious appetites, according to the magazine.

Moffat was a number cruncher of the first order: He had been, among other things, the head of IBM's supply chain. Spreadsheets sang to him; he carried three-ring binders stuffed with data about the business. Some people might think his work was dull. But in 2002 he met a hedge fund analyst who found what he did insanely alluring. Danielle Chiesi, a former teenage beauty queen, was a woman for whom business information was the ticket to gratification. She liked older men, and she enjoyed pushing their buttons. "I love the three S's," she would tell them. "Sex, stocks, and sports."

And spreadsheets, apparently. Chiesi and Bob began an affair in 2003, but their lovemaking meant something different to him than it did to her. "Everyone wants to make this about sex," Bob explained.

"Danielle had an extensive network of business people. And she added clarity about what was going on in the business world ... I know in my heart what this relationship was about: clarity in the business environment."

Okay. Fortune attempts to explain.

Sex was part of the picture, to be sure, but the dangerous elixir that really bound these people to one another was information. It enriched some of them, it thrilled all of them, and it eventually ruined their careers.

Except for Chiesi. For Chiesi, it was about sex.

Trading business information, Chiesi would say, was "like an orgasm."

Dangerous liaisons at IBM: Inside the biggest hedge fund insider-trading ring [Fortune]
Earlier: Analyst Who Fed Raj Rajaratnam Inside Information Was a Total Cougar