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Prosecutors demand hefty Rajaratnam sentence

US prosecutors have said that former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam should be given a hefty prison sentence next week, arguing that illegal gains from his insider trading netted about $72 million.

world Updated: Oct 05, 2011 11:53 IST

US prosecutors have said that former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam should be given a hefty prison sentence next week, arguing that illegal gains from his insider trading netted about $72 million.

Assistant US attorney Andrew Michaelson told a court hearing yesterday that Rajaratnam should be punished for personal gains and also for the money that his illegal trades earned his Galleon Group hedge fund.

Another prosecutor, Reed Brodsky, argued that Rajaratnam further aggravated his crime by acting as leader of a wider conspiracy.

They demanded he be sentenced to as much as 293 months, or about 24.5 years, in prison, and a minimum of 19.5 years.

"Mr Rajaratnam is uniquely situated... (as) an individual at the top of a pyramid in his hedge fund" with "interlocking trading schemes," he said.

However, lawyers for the Sri Lankan-born founder of Galleon are urging leniency, with a sentence of as little as six and a half years.

One complained about prosecutors' attempts to get an "extravagantly high sentence" and said that Rajaratnam had never led a broader insider trading effort, but essentially acted alone on tip-offs.

Defence lawyers have also asked the court to consider what they say is a "constellation of ailments ravaging his body," although they have also asked for the details of his condition to remain private.

Federal judge Richard Holwell is to hand down the sentence on October 13.

Rajaratnam, 54, was considered one of Wall Street's best performing hedge fund managers before being accused in the biggest insider trading investigation in years.

The US attorney's office has made a priority of prosecuting Rajaratnam and his sentencing is being closely watched.