The Sri Lankan born Hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, the billionaire manager of the Galleon hedge fund, was found guilty on Wednesday on all counts in the largest hedge fund insider trading case in the United States history.
The case started when FBI arrested Rajaratnam on October 16, 2009 on charges of insider trading. The prosecution is the biggest involving alleged insider trading on Wall Street in two decades.
Prosecutors have accused the Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam of reaping as much as $63.8 million illegally by trading on inside tips about companies such as chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc, Intel Corp, Google and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Rajaratnam was found guilty by the jurors on nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy.
Raj Rajaratnam, once a high-flying billionaire and hedge fund manager is now a convicted felon,14 times over. Rajaratnam was among the best and the brightest – one of the most educated, successful and privileged professionals in the country,” said Preet Bharara, the US attorney for Manhattan.
This conviction will give the SEC the teeth to go after the cases of insider-trading. Over the last 18 months, Bharara’s office alone has charged 47 people with insider trading, of those, 36 have been convicted or have pleaded guilty. Rajaratnam's case was the 35th defendant who was convicted or had plead guilty.
According to the Justice Department, each of the conspiracy counts carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of the greater of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Each of the securities fraud counts carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $5 million. Rajaratnam faces a maximum prison term of 205 years in total.
According to legal experts, he could face up to 25 years in prison and also be forced to disgorge tens of millions of dollars in illegal trading profits.