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World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Last updated on: November 27, 2009 20:41 IST

Image: Lloyd Blankfein.
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters

It's one Forbes list where none would want to figure, but Ramalinga Raju, founder-chairman of Satyam Computers (now Mahindra Satyam), has managed the feat of being among the world's 10 most outrageous CEOs.

Raju has been ranked as the world's fourth most outrageous CEO in 2009 on the list compiled by the Forbes.

Giving Raju company are Sri Lankan-origin American hedge fund manager Raj Rajarathnam (third), former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain (2nd) and Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein (1st).

Raju, the only Indian on the list dominated by Americans, owes his place on the list to his disclosure in January about committing the country's biggest ever corporate fraud.

To know about the nine other most outrageous CEOs, read on...

1. Lloyd Blankfein

Blankfein earned a total of $53.4 million in 2006, making him one of the highest paid executives on Wall Street.

In November, 2009, Blankfein said in an interview that, as a banker, he was doing 'God's work'.

However, he said that he regretted that remark, which had been intended as a joke. He also apologised for Goldman's role in the financial crisis, saying that the bank 'participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret.' He also pledged that Goldman would donate $500 million to American small businesses.

Goldman is facing a populist backlash because it was one of the original nine firms to receive bailout funds last fall. Goldman Sachs, however, has started making profit again off the home foreclosure of families who are struggling to make ends meet.

The truth is Lloyd Blankfein and his fellow executives continue rewarding themselves for their bad behaviour -- setting aside $16.7 billion in compensation and bonuses in the first nine months of 2009.

. . .

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: John Alexander Thain.
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

2. John Alexander Thain

An American businessman and investment banker, Thain was the last chairman and chief executive officer of Merrill Lynch before its merger with Bank of America.

Before joining Merrill Lynch, Thain was the CEO of the New York Stock Exchange from January 2004 to December 2007. He also worked at Goldman Sachs.

Thain was supposed to become president of global banking, securities and wealth management after Merrill Lynch-Bank of America merger, but he resigned on January 22.

In fact, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis reportedly forced Thain to resign after losses at Merrill Lynch proved to be far larger than BoA's estimation.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Raj Rajaratnam.
Photographs: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

3. Raj Rajaratnam

Founder of Galleon group, a New York based hedge fund management firm, Rajaratnam is the richest Sri Lankan born person in the world.

Rajaratnam and five others were charged with crimes, including securities fraud and conspiracy involving insider trading that generated more than $20 million in profits, US prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Ramalinga Raju.
Photographs: Reuters

4. B Ramalinga Raju

In January, Raju, founder of Satyam Computer Services, confessed to overstating its profits over several years and creating a fictitious cash balance of more than $1 billion.

He confessed to inventing more than 10,000 fictional employees to help him steal money from the company, and using his mother's name to buy land with the proceeds.

Police arrested Raju, his co-founder and brother, B Rama Raju, and Satyam's former chief financial officer Srinivas Vadlamani on charges of cheating, forgery and breach of trust.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Thomas Petters.

5. Thomas Petters

Petters was the former CEO and chairman of Petters Group Worldwide.

He resigned from his position as CEO on September 29, 2008, amid mounting criminal investigations.

The FBI put Petters under investigation for his alleged role in a fraud scheme involving more than $100 million in investments, with estimates ranging up to $3.5 billion.

Documents released by federal agencies noted that they were seeking evidence of a scheme to lure investors into funding a company based on millions of dollars in purchases and sales that never occurred.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Edward Liddy.
Photographs: Mike Theiler/Reuters

6. Edward M Liddy

This former CEO of American International Group hit the headlines in October 2008 for defending a controversial $440,000 AIG retreat for top-performing insurance salesmen at the luxury St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California.

The retreat, which was held shortly after the US government rescued AIG from insolvency with $84 billion in loans, included $200,000 for rooms, $150,000 for meals and $23,000 for the spa.

In his testimony before the US House Oversight Committee, Liddy stated such retreats 'are standard practice in our industry.'

During the US presidential debate on October 7, 2008, Democratic nominee and present US President Barack Obama mentioned the retreat and said, "The Treasury should demand that money back and those executives should be fired."

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Danny Pang.
Photographs: Mike Blake/Reuters
7. Danny Pang

Pang was a Taiwanese-American private equity manager. He ran the Private Equity Management Group, Inc. and Private Equity Management, LLC which claimed to manage $4 billion.

The funds were invested mainly on behalf of Taiwanese investors, in American securities, timeshare properties, and insurance policies.

Pang was accused by US securities regulators of perpetrating a massive Ponzi scheme as also for misreporting his background to investors.

The FBI arrested him on April 28 for structuring cash transactions to avoid a $10,000 reporting threshold, which has a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: R Allen Stanford (handcuffed).
Photographs: Richard Carson/Reuters

8. R Allen Stanford

Billionaire and chairman of Stanford Financial Group was accused of a $7-billion fraud. In fact, he is indicted on 21 criminal charges.

Investigation is still on.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: David Rubin.

9. David Rubin

Rubin is the founder and chief executive of municipal bond brokerage firm CDR Financial Products.

Through the years, the company has participated in more than $150 billion in transactions.

Rubin and his company have given more than $200,000 to political campaigns, mostly for Democratic candidates, including $2,300 to President Obama's campaign in September 2008.

A nine-count indictment, issued by a federal grand jury and filed in US District Court in Manhattan, accused CDR Financial Products Inc. in October of steering business to investment firms that paid it kickbacks.

World's 10 most outrageous CEOs

Image: Robert Moran.

10. Robert Moran

A UBS private banking client and also the founder and CEO Moran Yacht & Ship, Moran was sentenced for tax frauds.

Moran had pleaded guilty in April to filing a false tax return and admitted to concealing more than $3 million in a secret UBS account.