x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Rajaratnam guilty on all counts

A New York federal jury has convicted Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire hedge fund founder, on all counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Sri-Lankan born billionaire and co-founder of  Galleon hedge fund group Raj Rajaratnam leaves U.S. District Court after jury deliberations in New York, Tuesday, May 10, 2011.  Rajaratnam, who is at the center of the largest U.S. crackdown on hedge-fund insider trading in U.S. history, is accused of earning $63 million on illegal stock tips. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Sri-Lankan born billionaire and co-founder of Galleon hedge fund group Raj Rajaratnam leaves U.S. District Court after jury deliberations in New York, Tuesday, May 10, 2011. Rajaratnam, who is at the center of the largest U.S. crackdown on hedge-fund insider trading in U.S. history, is accused of earning $63 million on illegal stock tips. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire hedge fund founder, was convicted yesterday on all counts of fraud and conspiracy in Wall Street's biggest insider trading trial for years.

The New York federal jury found Rajaratnam, 53, the head of the Galleon Group, guilty on all 14 counts. He now faces up to 25 years in prison.

The marathon case was seen as a huge assault by prosecutors on Wall Street corruption.

Born in Sri Lanka, Rajaratnam was accused of earning US$63.8 million (Dh234.3m) through illegal tips from company insiders to give him an unfair edge in hedge fund trading.

A jury in the Manhattan court returned its verdict yesterday after hearing evidence that Rajaratnam engaged in a seven-year conspiracy to trade on inside information from businessmen including directors of public companies such as Goldman Sachs.

The trial came as Preet Bharara, the Manhattan US attorney , promised to crack down on "rampant" illegal trading on Wall Street.

"He joins the pantheon of Ivan Boesky and Gordon Gekko," said Peter Henning, a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, citing both the real-life stock trader who was jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy in 1987 and the fictional Wall Street film character who symbolised the financial scandals of the 1980s.

"It is a defining case," Mr Henning said before the verdict was handed down.

Rajaratnam's lawyers had argued the information was already public as it had been discussed in analysts' reports.

* with Agence France-Presse and Reuters