Rajaratnam gets 11 years in insider trade probe

Rajaratnam gets 11 years in insider trade probe

Rajaratnam gets 11 years in insider trade probe

Raj Rajaratnam Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam also was fined USD 10 million by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell, who said he concluded that Rajaratnam made well over USD 50 million in profits from his illegal trades.

"His crimes and the scope of his crimes reflect a virus in our business culture that needs to be eradicated," Holwell said.

The Sri Lanka-born Rajaratnam, 54, was ordered to report to a yet-to-be-designated prison on Nov. 28.

The judge gave Rajaratnam leniency, citing his need for a kidney transplant and his advanced diabetes. And he credited Rajaratnam's charity work, which he called "the defendant's responsiveness to and care for the less privileged." The judge cited Rajaratnam's work to help victims of the earthquake in Pakistan and Sept. 11, among others.

Asked if he wished to speak at his sentencing, Rajaratnam said only, "No, thank you."
The sentencing culminates a series of convictions and sentencings that followed the October 2009 announcement of Rajaratnam's arrest. More than two dozen people were arrested; all were convicted. The other defendants got sentences ranging from a few months to 10 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Reed Brodsky told Holwell before the sentence was announced that Rajaratnam made up to USD 75 million in illegal profits from insider trading he indulged in since at least the late 1990s. The government has said he switched so much money around within his multibillion dollar funds that the movement of price in individual stocks could be traced to his trading whims.

"Today you sentence a man who is the modern face of illegal insider trading," Brodsky told Holwell. "He is arguably the most egregious insider trader to face sentencing in a courthouse in the United States."

Prosecutors had asked Holwell to send Rajaratnam to prison for at least 19 1/2 years for his May conviction on securities fraud charges. They said federal sentencing guidelines called for up to 24 1/2 years. A Probation Department report recommended a 15-year sentence.

The defense asked for leniency partly based on Rajaratnam's "failing health" and his "unique constellation of ailments."

Attorney Terence Lynam told Holwell that Rajaratnam should receive credit for his considerable charitable works and he urged compassion for his illnesses.

"Any lengthy term of imprisonment will surely shorten his life," he said. "Based on the conduct for which he was convicted, he does not deserve to die in prison."

Lawyers for the Sri Lanka native argued for 6 1/2 to 9 years. They said the illegal profits actually total around USD 7 million, when the trades at his Galleon Group are disregarded.

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