back to article Ex-IBM heir apparent gets six months in the slammer

Robert Moffat, the former general manager of IBM's Systems Group and a former board member of Chinese PC maker Lenovo, has been sentenced in a federal court in connection with the Galleon insider trading scam that was uncovered last October. Moffat, who was once an heir apparent to run Big Blue once Sam Palmisano retires, was …


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  1. JaitcH

    A sad end to his career because of greed

    One thing will likely never change in businesspeople all over the world….Greed!

    It seems to be a key element in their psyche. Recently a bunch if them have come a cropper - Madoff, Wall Street entrepreneurs, Ebbers, the 'victims' of Nigerian 419 scams, Clemens and Woods in sports, the list is endless.

    Greed (from the Latin: avaritia) is an alternative expression of avarice or covetousness, is a very excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of power, status and wealth. For those of the Christian faith, one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

    Moffat will be but a footnote in the history of technology. Now he will have the time to slow down and smell the roses.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


      Avarice I can see being derived from avaritia. Avarice comes to English by way of some older interlinguistic mixing with French. French of course shares a common Latin root with all romance languages and they all head from there towards proto-indo-European.

      Greed? Greed derives from "greedy" which follows a chain of language into the middle English through proto-Germanic all the way through to proto indo-European.

      The proto-indo-European words for “greed” and “avarice” as far as I know had very different meanings. Contrary to avarice, which means what it does now, in virtually all antecedent languages greed means "hungry" or "to hunger for.” This is not precisely cognate with "avarice" except in certain dialects of modern English. (Even this is still debatable as even in certain modern dialects avarice is seen as a choice in behaviour where greed is still seen as a behaviour performed from necessity.)

      Pedant for obvious reasons.

      1. Andus McCoatover


        Looked like a type-5 Finnish verb at first..

        Closest I could get was "Avara" - type-4.

        So I guess the translation to 'ample', or 'loose' would probably get there...

        (Hey, El. Reg - why silence on the Pentagon trying to do a 'spywatcher' -

        Thought it'd be right up your street...)

        1. Red Bren

          Mama, we're all pedants now!

          It was "Spycatcher" not Spywatcher :-)

    2. Wallyb132

      Well now that Trevor has taken to trashing your linguistic skills

      Well now that Trevor has taken to trashing your linguistic skills, allow me to take to your reading comprehension skills as well.

      "A sad end to his career because of greed" should read "A sad end to his career because of p*ssy"

      This man threw a long and illustrious career down the drain, not for greed, though greed was involved, it was not on his end, or part of his motivation. no, this man flushed his career for pussy! he was banging some chick who manages an investment fund, and for whatever reason felt he needed to make himself feel more "important and knowledgeable", personally i think an up to date copy of his resume would have taken care of those needs rather nicely. I mean seriously, he was the general manager of IBM's systems group, been with the company 31 years, he was the heir apparent to the thrown once their current king retires, he had previously managed their PC group, Printer group and their Server group, and was on the board of directors for Lenovo. I think that rap sheet covers both "important" and "knowledgeable" quite well. If those credentials weren't enough to get him laid, he was obviously shopping in the wrong meat market.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


        I've not attempted to "trash [JaitcH's] linguistic skills." I merely seized a very rare opportunity to prove him wrong on something. He's right more often than not and he seems to enjoy proving others wrong as much as any of the regular commenttards around here, so...

        ...I get one narrow and ultimately hollow victory in. Also: is etymology a linguistic skill? Or does that count as a study of some form. Sort of like History, but with more of an OCD bent to it?


        Pint because no offence was intended.

    3. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      The greed of the people with power over us all...

      Given the core nature of the people with money and power (where money is itself a form of power over people who need money to live), I very much suspect insider trading style “business tips” are often seen just as a convenient way to build up business contacts and business "friends" by giving them tips that earn them another fortune by normal peoples standards. That's a great way to build up business contact friends. Its like, “you help me (earn millions) and I'll help you (earn millions)”. Meanwhile they keep the rest of us down to exploit us for their gain. :(

      JaitcH: "One thing will likely never change in businesspeople all over the world...Greed!" ... "It seems to be a key element in their psyche."

      Sadly a true summary, but the greed is itself a warning sign of a more specific personality behaviour unfortunately very commonly found in people who have power over other people as bosses do. Specifically its a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which manifests in signs of relentless self interest (hence the name of the disorder). Another warning sign is their lack of empathy which is again another aspect of their relentless self interest. Sadly even worse (for society) Narcissists have a competitive advantage in gaining high up positions of power over others, as their Machiavellian self interested cunning and duplicitous ways of endlessly behaving, naturally end up allowing them to get themselves into positions where they can dominate others for their own gain. Hence the problems we sadly keep having in the world. It really is behaviour driven by a personality disorder. (Its why they are never truly happy even when they have billions in the bank).

      Its why we all have to learn how they think and behaviour for our own protection from them, because otherwise they will *continue* to exploit us all for every penny they can get out of us and actually secretly be happy when they leave us with virtually nothing because that actually gives them more power over us. To your face they can be like a friend and yet lie endlessly to your face, whilst behind your back they will be working against you to keep you down and under their control to exploit you, with little money to allow you to break free. That is the way of a Narcissist.

      They are not like normal people. They work endlessly against you behind your back, so a lot of what they do is hidden and so often takes years to see what they are really like. Yet these are the people who run companies and countries! ... Therefore is it any wonder the world is such a mess and so lacking in empathy!. Yet these are the people who also decide the laws!, which we all must live under and so its no wonder the world is in such a mess, whilst they live the high life. Which also sadly explains how he just gets 6 months inside, (which means he will be out in a few months), then he goes off with millions in the bank. Sadly society is run and controlled by Narcissists ultimately to reward the Narcissists because they don't really want to punish Narcissists who are really like them. The rest of us, we are all just their serfs. :(

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Not really

      He got little out of it. Nothing even close to what he was getting from IBM.

      Whatever he leaked was mostly leaked during "pillow talk".

      It is less of a case of greed and more of a case of forgetting that "Work Has No Place in the Bedroom". Especially if you are sleeping with someone who has their own career and can exploit the information to their personal advantage screwing you doubly in the process.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    An entirely reasonable punishment from a US court of Law ! I expected something like 15 years + 3*87 years. 15 for infidelity and three times 87 years for each leak.

    If more american judges are so sane, they might be able to reduce their prisoner population to just three times the world's average over the next, well, 78 years or so.

  3. C-N

    Six months in prison and a $50,000 fine! WOW!

    Let that be a lesson to anyone who is contemplating a career of embezzling and stealing millions of dollars. Crime doesn't pay! Er, well, sometimes it doesn't pay. I mean, umm, on the odd chance that you get busted you might have to pay a hefty fine (Fifty thousand!) and spend six months in the slammer (at your convenience).

    Mine's the one with my CV in the pocket in an envelope addressed to IBM HR (Executive search team). Wish me luck!

    1. Wallyb132

      Problems with your sentiment...

      This sentence was entirely appropriate if not over the top, he wasn't stealing or embezzling millions of dollars, or even a dollar, he was simply a pawn being milked for information that was being used by others to make illicit trades for profit, if you had read the article, or in case you did read the article, had better reading comprehension skills, you would know that he never tried to profit from divulging the information.

      1. C-N

        If you believe that...

        I mean, really? I am supposed to believe that this guy is CEO-of-IBM material, but also a complete Rube?

        Wallyb132, I have some ocean-front property I'd like to sell you.

  4. Spanners Silver badge

    A good use for ASBOs

    Any business person earning over £250k - $500k for our cousins, should be investigated for antisocial personality traits and worse.

    Any who turn out to be more than mildly crazy should be sent on multi-year outward bound courses and then reintegrated into society as menials.

    This would allow their non psychotic underlings to rise perhaps removing many of our financial problems in the process.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    who cares what his motivation was

    the bastard only got 6 months. Had non-silverspoon type stole that much money, regardless of whether or not it was white collar crime, they'd be crucified.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Wait A Second

      He did NOT steal any money. It was his mistress who used the intel she gathered "in bed" (should we call it BEDINT ?) for her personal financial gain.

      This guy got six months for not being able to keep a business secret. That's Just Fair.

    2. Alex Rose

      Calm down...

      The Attorney for the Southern District of New York even said "even high-flying executives do not receive get-out-of-jail-free cards for participation in insider trading." So there's nothing for you to get so worked up about.

      Oh, hang on, what's this?

      "Moffat is being allowed to begin serving his sentence in June 2011 so he can attend his daughter's graduation next year."

      Hmm, of course if he lived in a trailer park he'd have been treated just the same. Wouldn't he?

  6. Paul Johnston
    Thumb Down

    And he starts it when?

    Moffat is being allowed to begin serving his sentence in June 2011 so he can attend his daughter's graduation next year.

    My son is two so can I rob people but not start serving time until he gets his PhD. in say 25 years time?

  7. John 75
    Thumb Down


    He should have gotten 10 + years and over a million dollar fine.

    you can't even call what he received a slap on the wrist. He will be playing golf at the government country club.


  8. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When heads of state think they can claim immunity from prosecution is the law an ass.

    "the bastard only got 6 months. Had non-silverspoon type stole that much money, regardless of whether or not it was white collar crime, they'd be crucified." .... b ws Posted Tuesday 14th September 2010 01:36 GMT

    Quite so, b ws, the law is for pussies and retards to observe and justice an inconvenience it servers and services.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Did we even read the same article?

      "... has been sentenced in a federal court in connection with the Galleon insider trading scam".

      Whether or not he personally profited is irrelevant, the irrefutable fact remains that he was CONVICTED of being associated with an insider trading SCAM of considerable size. The illegal gains of the investment firms came some person or entities pockets, no? Or does money just magically materialize, outside of a mint?

  9. Dagg Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    He didn't steal he was just big noting

    Silly bugger was trying to look big to get his leg over! One grade 'A' idot.

  10. Andrew...


    Reading Comprehension skills? Kettle and pot come to mind?

    Why not use the word "Throne" instead of "Thrown"? I'm sure you'll understand when you read the dictionary definitions of each.

  11. Andus McCoatover


    So... he can start his sentence basically when it's 'convenient'?

    OK, ask anyone with a 'deep suntan' when they wanna start their stretch in the hole? Yeah, right.

    Paris, 'cos I believe she'd like a stretch in the hole.

  12. Huey

    What did I miss?

    Can someone with better comprehension skills than myself please explain to me why he is starting a six month stretch in June 2011 to be able to attend his daughters graduation?

    If he was inside now, now + six months (starts counting on fingers) means he'd be out in mid March 2011 which as far as I know still comes before May/June? Even if the graduation ceremony was in January why then wait till June to then serve I can't quite figure it.

    Like I said if I missed something completely I apologise I am after all just a curious fellow.

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