Rajaratnam Lives Like King, Fired Worker Says
HARTFORD (CN) - Raj Rajaratnam's limousine driver sued the imprisoned inside trader, claiming Rajaratnam demanded from prison that the driver assist him in criminal activities, and fired him for refusing.
Peter Malaszuk sued Rajaratnam, his wife Asha Pablo, and the new company she formed, Synamon Management Group, in Federal Court, on June 20. He seeks punitive damages for whistleblower violations, wrongful firing, and wages and overtime wages due.
Rajaratnam, 57, is serving an 11-year federal sentence for conspiracy and securities fraud, and was fined, civilly and criminally, more than $150 million. A billionaire, he led one of the biggest inside-trading rings in history through his Galleon Group. Since January 2013 he has been serving his time at the Federal Medical Center, Devens, in Ayer, Mass., a prison for inmates who need long-term medical or medical health care.
Malaszuk claims he worked for Rajaratnam for 15 years as a driver and caretaker of his estate in Greenwich, Conn.
"Mr. Rajaratnam and the other defendants terminated Mr. Malaszuk because Mr. Malaszuk complained about Mr. Rajaratnam's continuous violations of federal criminal laws while Mr. Rajaratnam was serving his 11-year prison sentence," the complaint states.
"Specifically, Mr. Rajaratnam was violating federal criminal law and prison regulations by secretly wiring substantial funds to fellow prisoners and their family members, through the use of contraband, in order to control such prisoners and obtain special treatment and accommodations in prison that violate federal law.
"Furthermore, Mr. Rajaratnam used a fraudulent immigration documents in an attempt to obtain a visa for his son. The document was fraudulent because, upon information and belief, it was signed by a notary before it was delivered to Mr. Rajaratnam at prison. The notary signature was falsely dated December 9, 2013 - one day after Mr. Rajaratnam handed the document to Mr. Malaszuk in prison - but had to have been delivered to Mr. Rajaratnam in prison on or before December 8, 2013. Therefore, the document was not properly notarized and Mr. Rajaratnam's use of it as a purported proper notarized signature was a fraud."
During his visits to the prison, Rajaratnam handed Malaszuk pieces of paper with the name of an inmate and contact information for the inmate's family member "and order Mr. Malaszuk to write those fellow inmates (or their family members) significant amounts of money through Western Union," the complaint states. Malaszuk claims that Rajaratnam did this for about 20 inmates "for numerous months." And, he claims, "Mr. Rajaratnam ordered Mr. Malaszuk to use false names with Western Union when identifying the sender of such funds. Mr. Rajaratnam would also direct Mr. Malaszuk to destroy the pieces of paper that Mr. Rajaratnam gave him (contraband) to hide Mr. Rajaratnam's involvement in the scheme. Indeed, one time, Mr. Rajaratnam ordered Mr. Malaszuk to 'eat that piece of paper.'"
Malaszuk claims that he complained to Rajaratnam and the other defendants about involving him in the contraband, the fraudulent immigration documents and the wire transfers. He says he told Rajaratnam he did not want to do "illegal things" and that he "did not want to 'jeopardize his freedom' for Mr. Rajaratnam."
"In response," Malaszuk claims, "Mr. Rajaratnam stated to Mr. Malaszuk: 'What are you going to do about it ... sue me?'
"Subsequently, Mr. Rajaratnam threatened Mr. Malaszuk to keep quiet and ultimately fired Mr. Malaszuk for his complaints concerning Mr. Rajaratnam's illegal activities. By doing so, Mr. Rajaratnam and the other defendants clearly violated Connecticut's whistleblower laws and compelled the filing of this lawsuit.
"Additionally, to make matters worse, defendants have failed to pay Mr. Malaszuk for countless hours of overtime and have clearly violated both the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act."
Citing an Aug. 27, 2013 story in the New York Post, Malaszuk claims that Rajaratnam is living "like a king" in prison, where he has a servant, a private bathroom, a balcony, an adjustable bed and his own TV set. He allegedly has a "prime cell" on the top floor of the prison's hospital ward, usually reserved for the most seriously ill inmates.
Malaszuk claims that Rajaratnam's money transfers violated prison regulations, in that they were used to obtain things of value inside the prison.
Malaszuk claims that he worked between 65 and 80 hours a week in 2012-13, for which the defendants owe him $150,000 in overtime pay for 2012 and $125,000 in overtime pay for 2013.
He is represented by Joseph Tacopina, with Tacopina, Seigel and Turano in New York City.