Ex-McKinsey partner pleads guilty to insider trading charge

A former partner at the McKinsey consulting firm pleaded guilty to insider trading ahead of Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) agreement to buy fintech lender GreenSky Inc (GSKY.O) for $2.24 billion, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Puneet Dikshit, 40, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud. He was charged last month for allegedly generating about $450,000 of profit from 2,500 GreenSky call options that he bought in the two days before the merger was announced on Sept. 15.

Dikshit now awaits sentencing, Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Authorities said Dikshit led McKinsey’s unsecured lending practice in North America and had been a lead partner advising Goldman. GreenSky is a specialty lender that arranges consumer loans for large one-time purchases. Its share price rose 53% on the day the merger was announced.

Prosecutors said Dikshit bought his call options, a bet the stock price would rise, without receiving pre-clearance from McKinsey. The firm said last month it had fired Dikshit for “a gross violation of our policies.”

The charges were announced nine years after former McKinsey chief and Goldman director Rajat Gupta was convicted of insider trading. Prosecutors said Dikshit ran Google searches related to Gupta’s conviction about three weeks after Goldman agreed to buy GreenSky.

Dikshit also faces civil charges from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.