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Rajaratnam May Get Quarter Century Term


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Jan 17, 2010
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New Jersey
Galleon Group LLC’s Raj Rajaratnam faces a federal judge this week who will weigh wildly divergent portraits of the disgraced hedge fund manager while interpreting guidelines that may call for one of the longest insider trading sentences in U.S. history.

Prosecutors paint Rajaratnam as a “serial insider trader” who corrupted friends and business associates to illegally make profits or avoid losses totaling $72 million. Defense lawyers say Rajaratnam is a generous man who committed victimless crimes. A prison stretch would kill him, they claim.

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in Manhattan, who will sentence Rajaratnam Oct. 13, presided over the jury trial in which the fund manager was convicted of running the biggest insider trading ring in a generation. The judge will consult nonbinding sentencing guidelines that sometimes recommend longer terms for white-collar criminals than some violent offenders.

“The sentence called for by the guidelines is likely to be excessive,” said Barry Boss, a partner in the Washington office of Cozen O’Connor and co-chairman of the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section Sentencing Committee.

All 14 Counts

Rajaratnam, 54, was convicted in May of 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors asked Holwell to give him a prison sentence of 19 1/2 to 24 1/2 years, which they said is within the guidelines. The defense, claiming Rajaratnam’s actions made him only $7.4 million, argued for a guideline calculation that would call for a sentence of 6 1/2 to 8 years, according to a person familiar with the defense case who spoke on condition of anonymity. Defense lawyer John Dowd declined to comment on the range.

There is no parole under the federal prison system.

Prosecutors claim Rajaratnam was at the center of a seven- year conspiracy to trade on inside information from corporate executives, bankers, consultants, traders and directors of public companies. He used the information to trade ahead of public announcements about earnings, forecasts, mergers and spinoffs involving more than a dozen companies, according to the evidence presented at his trial.

Those companies included Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Intel Corp. (INTC), Google Inc. (GOOG), ATI Technologies Inc. and Clearwire Corp. (CLWR)

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