Raj Rajaratnam, 'Jackass' of Wall Street

Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund billionaire who stands accused of masterminding a massive insider trading ring, was incredibly competitive and a ruthless boss. Of course you sort of have to be if you're planning to claw your way up to the top of the hedge fund pyramid. But it turns out he was a pretty wacky boss, too, as today's Wall Street Journal illustrates.

It seems the "fund boss who built empire on charm, smarts and information" may have also been something of a Jackass fan:

At Galleon, Mr. Rajaratnam took his fondness for pranks and dares to a new level. When executives from stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. came to make an investment pitch around 2005, Mr. Rajaratnam offered $5,000 to anyone who'd agree to be shocked. Employees gathered around as two people propped up trader Keryn Limmer at the elbows and another person fired the weapon. Ms. Limmer's legs buckled beneath her from the shock. Ms. Limmer declined to comment.

Much like Johnny Knoxville, Rajaratnam realized that there was no better way to generate laughs than to involve the presence of a dwarf:

That same year, employees arrived at Galleon's morning meeting to a surprise: In the conference room was a dwarf whom Mr. Rajaratnam introduced as an analyst hired to cover "small-cap" stocks. He was, in fact, an actor hired for an April Fool's Day gag.

Of course, as the cast of Jackass learned again and again over the years, not every stunt was bound to end well:

After Mr. Rajaratnam boasted one day that there was no spicy sauce that he couldn't stomach, a colleague brought a bottle of habanero sauce called Armageddon to the trading desk. A crowd gathered to watch as Mr. Rajaratnam doused two chicken wings with it and chowed down. Within moments, Mr. Rajaratnam was crying and coughing uncontrollably. He ran to the bathroom and left work early. Mr. Rajaratnam laughed about it later.

The Man Who Wired Silicon Valley [WSJ]