Rajaratnam's case a 'conspiracy', says lawyer

Both the prosecution and defence made opening statements on the second day of the trial involving the Sri Lankan-born billionaire who faces charges of 14 counts of security fraud and conspiracy.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

"The information gathered by Raj was available to anyone who worked hard," John Dowd, a former military lawyer, told the jury today.

"Talking to corporate executives is what Raj did for a living."

"The evidence will show that Raj did not cheat," he added.

But federal prosecutor Jonathan Streeter said that Raj had made his money through "greed and corruption."

The central question of the case is whether Rajaratnam earned USD 45 million by using leaked confidential information.

The prosecution will use evidence collected through authorized wiretapping of phone conversations.

"He knew tomorrow's business news today and traded on it," Streeter said, adding that Rajaratnam didn't know that the FBI was listening.

Rajaratnam, dressed in a grey suit, sat quietly with his team of lawyers as the lengthy opening statements were delivered in front of a packed court in Manhattan.

A second overflow room had to be opened up for journalists.

The prosecution told the jury about alleged insider trading deals with Adam Smith, a Galleon portfolio manager, and Rajat K Gupta, a former board member of Goldman Sachs and Proctor & Gamble, who was charged last week by the Securities and Exchange Commission for sharing confidential information with Rajaratnam.

So far, 19 people have pleaded guilty in the case including Rajiv Goel, a former Intel executive, Anil Kumar, a former director at McKinsey & Co. and Smith.

The 53-year-old business tycoon, however, denies any wrongdoing.

Besides his client's professional life, Dowd also talked about Rajaratnam's personal life such as his wife, three children and his loyalty to friends as well as former classmates at Wharton Business School from where he graduated at the top of his class in 1983.

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