'Rajaratnam stole information to steal millions'
Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam used "stolen business information to steal tens of millions of dollars", prosecution argued at the start of what has been dubbed as the largest insider trading trial in US.
Laying out his case against Sri Lankan American billionaire hedge fund founder Rajaratnam, Assistant US Attorney Jonathan Streeter told a Manhattan court Wednesday the Wharton Business school graduate "exploited a corrupt network of people" for his own illicit gain.
Streeter cited wiretaps the government was able to obtain in 2008 to build its case.
Rajaratnam is charged with 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. The government alleges he made $45 million from insider trading tips and conspired with others, including employees at Galleon, board presidents and consultants.
A jury of seven women and five men has been seated for the trial, which is expected to last 10 weeks. Rajaratnam could face 20 years in jail if convicted.
It took Streeter about an hour to run through the names of witnesses who will testify against Raj, who have "already pleaded guilty to insider trading".
Judge Richard Holwell's courtroom was overflowing with guests and media, causing two overflow rooms to be opened up.
Defence attorney John Dowd in turn went through almost every charge against his client, saying, "He is not guilty; he only traded on expert information."
Dowd said the government has it "wrong, and they want you to believe the words of the unbelievable".
He attacked the credibility of the presumed government witnesses, noting that each one faces 25 years in prison.
"They are on a leash," Dowd said. "The prosecution holds the keys to the jailhouse."