Rajat Gupta's plea on wiretaps declined

A US judge trying Goldman Sachs Group's former Indian-American director Rajat Gupta for insider trading has tentatively ruled against allowing wiretaps that suggest another Goldman insider was behind some of the alleged tips.

US District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said he was not inclined to allow the defence to introduce two wiretapped phone calls between Goldman's David Loeb and convicted hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, whom Gupta allegedly tipped.

The calls, recorded by the FBI in its investigation of the now-imprisoned Rajaratnam, reveal that some of his illegal tips from Loeb, Goldman Sachs's head of Asia equity sales in New York, according to Gupta's defence lawyer.

At a hearing after the trial Monday, David Frankel, a lawyer for Gupta, argued the defence should be allowed to play wiretaps made on Aug 7 and Aug 22 of 2008 as they show Loeb passing material nonpublic information to Rajaratnam about Intel Corp and Apple on the calls. Frankel also sought to show the jury e-mails that Loeb and Rajaratnam exchanged. Frankel said they show Loeb claims he obtained his information from a Goldman Sachs analyst covering Taiwan.

Earlier, Gupta's eldest daughter Geetanjali Gupta, 33, and some of his longtime friends briefly testified on his behalf. A former Galleon manager, Richard Schutte, testified about various sources the hedge fund relied on for its trades.

One of Gupta's friends, Ashok Alexander, 58, the country manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in New Delhi, said he considers Gupta "to be a friend, but also a mentor and occasional coach."

Another associate, Suprotik Basu, 34, who has worked for the United Nations Secretary-General's special envoy for malaria since January 2008, apparently referring to Gupta recalled receiving "an urgent call about a businessman who wanted to end all childhood deaths from malaria by 2025."

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