iconimg Sunday, August 02, 2015

Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times
Washington, April 08, 2014
Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta on Monday appealed against a fine of $13.9 million imposed on him earlier, calling it abuse of the concerned court's discretion. "The sanctions imposed by the district court are draconian, and unjustified," said an appeal filed by his defence lawyers in the US court for appeals for the second circuit in New York.

It was a "rare instance where the court abused its discretion," the appeal said.

The appeal also argued that Gupta has been punished enough — with a jail sentence and hefty fines.

India-born Gupta was found guilty on two counts of insider trading in July 2012. He was sentenced to two years in jail and fined $5 million, and $6 million in restitution to Goldman Sachs.

The conviction and the sentencing were upheld in March.

Another court subsequently slapped a civil penalty of $13.9 million on him at the urging of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the US in July 2013.
Gupta, who grew up in Delhi, is now appealing against the SEC fine.

"This further sanction was not based on any new evidence, but only on the fact of the conviction itself and the district court's legally insufficient analysis," Gupta said in his appeal.

His defence team is arguing that the SEC didn't make a strong enough case for piling on an additional fine that would take the total of penalties to a third of his worth.

Gupta was estimated to be worth $80 million in 2008 by the SEC, which his defence team has not challenged. The three fines together add up to $25 million, that's nearly a third.

That's too much punishment, said the appeal, for someone who, according to the trial judge, "gained no direct financial benefit", from the offense and is "unlikely to repeat" it.