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Is Rajat Gupta headed for Gordon Gekko's jail?

india Updated: Oct 26, 2012 02:51 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj

The fall from grace for former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta might get a Hollywood touch if he indeed lands in a prison that housed the fictional Gordon Gekko.

Gupta has some months to go before he starts - on January 8, 2013 - his two-year jail term handed to him by a US judge Wednesday for insider trading, with a $5 million fine.

Judge Jed S Rakoff said he will recommend Otisville prison, to a request from Gupta's lawyer Gary Naftalis that his client be sent to a minimum security jail.

Otisville in New York state has a federal correctional institution and a state correctional facility, both medium security. The judge said he would recommend the federal prison.

If the US bureau of prisons, which is the final assigning authority, agrees and Gupta's appeal against his conviction is overturned, he is headed for Otisville: the same prison that housed Gordon Gekko - of greed-is-good fame - the ultimate, though fictional, Wall Street predator from Oliver Stone's 1987 film Wall Street. And for the same crime: insider trading.

But Gupta is no Gekko.

"As I come before you to be sentenced, the overwhelming feelings in my heart are of acceptance of what has happened," Gupta said in a statement he read in the court.

Judge Rackoff acknowledged that Gupta was a good man who did a lot of philanthropy. He noted his charitable work highlighted recently in almost 400 letters to the judge from people like Bill Gates, Mukesh Ambani and Kofi Annan.

"The court can say without exaggeration that it has never encountered a defendant whose prior history suggests such an extraordinary devotion, not only to humanity writ large, but also to individual human beings in their times of need."

Who is Rajat Gupta

But that didn't absolve him of his crime.

"History is full of examples of good men who do bad things," the judge told Gupta's lawyer who was arguing for leniency.