Rajaratnam guilty of insider trading | business | Hindustan Times
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Rajaratnam guilty of insider trading

Billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam was convicted Wednesday on all counts of fraud and conspiracy in Wall Street’s biggest insider trading trial for years.

business Updated: May 12, 2011 08:08 IST

Sri Lankan American hedge fund tycoon Raja Rajaratnam has been found guilty of making tens of millions of dollars from insider trading with tips from corporate spies, including two Indian Americans.

Rajaratnam, who was convicted on all 14 counts by a federal grand jury in New York on Wednesday, could face as much as 19-and-a-half-years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. He will be sentenced on July 29.

The unanimous verdict brings to an end a nine-week trial which is part of what has been described as the largest hedge fund insider trading case in US history.

Central to the prosecution's evidence were tapped phone calls between Rajaratnam and corporate insiders, including two Indian Americans, Intel treasury official Rajiv Goel and former McKinsey & Co partner Anil Kumar, both of whom testified against him.

Prosecutors argued Rajratnam made as much as $63.8 million in illegal profits from 2003 to March 2009 by trading on tips from a network of highly-placed corporate insiders.

The companies traded included Google, Intel and Hilton Hotels, the prosecution said.

The wiretaps were particularly damning for the defence as Rajaratnam is heard discussing inside information he received from Goldman Sachs Indian American director, Rajat Gupta, about a potential acquisition the firm was expected to make. Gupta was not charged in the case.

Gupta's alleged involvement in the case brought Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein to the courtroom as witness for the prosecution.

In his testimony in March, Blankfein told jurors that Gupta violated Goldman's confidentiality when he shared confidential information about the firm with Rajaratnam.

Rajaratnam, dressed in a black suit and a khaki green tie, had no expression as the verdict was read in the overflowing courtroom. His lawyer, John Dowd, said he would appeal.

Preet Bharara, the Indian American United States attorney for Manhattan, whose prosecutors brought the case against Rajaratnam, said, "The message today is clear - there are rules and there are laws, and they apply to everyone, no matter who you are or how much money you have."