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Ken Lay has (desi) company


Straight shooter? anything butSeattle Times has this horror story about Naveen Jain, founder and fomer CEO of Infospace, which used to be the next-Microsoft a few years ago. Smooth talking, scheming, lying Jain used pretty much every trick in the book of creative accounting and then some more to keep Infospace stock up long enough for him to cash out.

It is a familiar story – just replace Enron/Tyco with Infospace, and Dennis Kozlowski with Naveen Jain and you get the picture. High profile CEO hyping his company's (non-existent) prospects to the sky, usual suspect Henry Blodget hoodwinking unsuspecting investors into buying the stock, everyone that knew selling their stock before it tanks, and finally the average Joe that bought into the company left wondering where his $50000 dollar investment went.

I hope Jain goes to jail and stays there for a long time.

Somewhat jarringly, the article has this gratuitous reference to India. “Naveen Jain grew up in a culture mired in bribery and corruption, yet in a religion that deplores dishonesty.” What does that have to do with this story? I haven't seen stories about Polish culture in stories about Martha.

Anyways, here's a sample exhibit from the hall of shame:

Jain's $13 million home

… The Jains preferred something different and latched onto a 1.3-acre Medina estate called Diamanti - Greek for diamond - buying it for $13 million. The mansion boasted 16,500 square feet of space and a two-story garage. The garage shared a glass wall with the house so the owner could display an auto collection.

The house had a professional recording studio, steam room, sauna, exercise room, elevator and a two-bedroom wing for a housekeeper. The pool was covered with a two-story glass atrium so the Jains could swim year-round.

Link through Sepia Mutiny.