Ahead of his sentencing later this month, former director of Goldman Sachs Rajat Gupta has got support from prominent personalities like former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates who advocated a lenient sentence for insider trading, the Wall Street Journal has reported.
Gupta, 63, who was an icon of the U.S. corporate world, was convicted by a jury which found him guilty of three counts of securities fraud, including insider trading, in June.
Gupta, who is best known for his corporate career and philanthropic activities, has got letters of support from the prominent personalities, requesting the judge to consider his contribution to philanthropic activities and for his excellent corporate record while deciding on his sentence. The Federal District Court of Manhattan will announce the sentence on Gupta Oct. 24.
Over 200 friends of Gupta, including Gates and Annan, have written the letters to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff through his lawyers ahead of the sentencing. Judge Rakoff released the letters on a request from a Wall Street Journal reporter after the prosecutors, Gupta and his lawyers had given consent to the release.
Gates, who worked with Gupta when the latter served as chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, wrote that though he was not in a position to comment on the case, he wanted to “round out” Gupta’s profile ahead of his sentencing.
"I know most personally that the poor of the world have a profoundly capable and articulate advocate in Rajat Gupta," wrote Gates, the WSJ reported.
In his letter to the the judge, Annan wrote that he had worked with Gupta in many projects and they were good friends.
"I urge you to recognize Rajat for the good he has done in the world, to give him the credit that he deserves for helping others and to take into account his efforts to improve the lives of millions of people,” Annan wrote.
The WSJ, citing the submissions to the court, reported that the letters had come from corporate heads, academics, luminaries, friends and family. Most of the letters highlighted his humanitarian work and advocated a lighter sentence that would help him continue with his philanthropic work.
"I suspect that there are more meaningfully redemptive possibilities for Rajat than a substantial period of incarceration," wrote Ajit Jain, an executive at Berkshire who testified at the trial. He said that he had already "paid a terrible price" with the disgrace and loss of financial security that came with the conviction, Reuters reported.
Gupta had an astonishing career in the U.S. corporate world till his conviction for tipping off inside information about the Goldman Sachs stocks to his friend and Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam in 2008.
Rajaratnam was convicted for 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.
Gupta’s sentencing is being watched by the corporate world with great interest as it is the first high profile case where a top executive has been convicted for securities fraud and conspiracy in recent years. The sentencing is expected to send a message against such offences.