Appeal in Insider Trading Case Centers on Wiretap

October 24, 2012

The New York Times on October 23, 2012 released the following:

“BY PETER LATTMAN

In March 2008, the Justice Department made an extraordinary request: It asked a judge for permission to record secretly the phone conversations of Raj Rajaratnam, a billionaire hedge fund manager.

The request, which was granted, was the first time the government had asked for a wiretap to investigate insider trading. Federal agents eavesdropped on Mr. Rajaratnam for nine months, leading to his indictment — along with charges against 22 others — and the biggest insider trading case in a generation.

On Thursday, lawyers for Mr. Rajaratnam, who is serving an 11-year prison term after being found guilty at trial, will ask a federal appeals court to reverse his conviction. They contend that the government improperly obtained a wiretap in violation of Mr. Rajaratnam’s constitutional privacy rights and federal laws governing electronic surveillance.

Such a ruling is considered a long shot, but a reversal would have broad implications. Not only would it upend Mr. Rajaratnam’s conviction but also affect the prosecution of Rajat K. Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs director who was convicted of leaking boardroom secrets to Mr. Rajaratnam. Mr. Gupta is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.

A decision curbing the use of wiretaps would also affect the government’s ability to police Wall Street trading floors, as insider trading cases and other securities fraud crimes are notoriously difficult to build without direct evidence like incriminating telephone conversations.

“Wiretaps traditionally have been used in narcotics and organized crime cases,” said Harlan J. Protass, a criminal defense lawyer in New York who is not involved in the Rajaratnam case. “Their use today in insider trading investigations indicates that the government thinks there may be no bounds to the types of white-collar cases in which they can be used.”

More broadly, Mr. Rajaratnam’s appeal is being closely watched for its effect on the privacy protections of defendants regarding wiretap use. Three parties have filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs siding with Mr. Rajaratnam. Eight former federal judges warned that allowing the court’s ruling to stand “would pose a grave threat to the integrity of the warrant process.” A group of defense lawyers said that upholding the use of wiretaps in this case would “eviscerate the integrity of the criminal justice system.”

To safeguard privacy protections, federal law permits the government’s use of wiretaps only under narrowly prescribed conditions. Among the conditions are that a judge, before authorizing a wiretap, must find that conventional investigative techniques have been tried and failed. Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers said the government misled the judge who authorized the wiretap, Gerard E. Lynch, in this regard.

They say that the government omitted that the Securities and Exchange Commission had already been building its case against Mr. Rajaratnam for more than a year using typical investigative means like interviewing witnesses and reviewing trading records. Had the judge known about the S.E.C.’s investigation, he would not have allowed the government to use a wiretap, Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers argue.

Before Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial, the presiding judge, Richard J. Holwell, held a four-day hearing on the legality of the wiretaps. Judge Holwell criticized the government, calling its decision to leave out information about its more conventional investigation a “glaring omission” that demonstrated “a reckless disregard for the truth.”

Nevertheless, Judge Holwell refused to suppress the wiretaps, in part, he said, because they were necessary to uncover Mr. Rajartanam’s insider trading scheme. “It appears that the S.E.C., and by inference the criminal authorities, had hit a wall of sorts,” Judge Holwell wrote.

On appeal, Mr. Rajaratnam lawyers argued that the government’s lack of candor should not be tolerated. They described the government’s wiretap application as full of “misleading assertions” and “outright falsity” that made it impossible for Judge Lynch to do his job.

“The government’s self-chosen reckless disregard of the truth and of the critical role of independent judicial review breached that trust and desolated the warrant’s basis,” wrote Mr. Rajaratnam’s lawyers at the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

In their brief to the appeals court, federal prosecutors dispute that they acted with a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Instead, they argue that omitting details of the S.E.C.’s investigation was at most “an innocent mistake rising to the level of negligence.” In addition, they said that the S.E.C.’s inquiry failed to yield sufficient evidence for a criminal case, necessitating the use of a wiretap.

Once Judge Lynch signed off on the wiretap application, the government’s investigation into Mr. Rajaratnam accelerated. The wiretapping of Mr. Rajaratnam’s phone, along with the subsequent recording of his supposed accomplices, yielded about 2,400 conversations. In many of them, Mr. Rajaratnam could be heard exchanging confidential information about technology stocks like Google and Advanced Micro Devices.

Three years ago this month, federal authorities arrested Mr. Rajaratnam and charged him with orchestrating a seven-year insider trading conspiracy. The sprawling case has produced 23 arrests of traders and tipsters, many of them caught swapping secrets with Mr. Rajaratnam about publicly traded companies.

Among the thousands of calls were four that implicated Mr. Gupta, a former head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company who served as a director at Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble. On one call in July 2008, the only wiretapped conversation between the two men, Mr. Gupta freely shared Goldman’s confidential board discussions with Mr. Rajaratnam. On another, Mr. Rajaratnam told a colleague at his hedge fund, the Galleon Group, “I heard yesterday from somebody who’s on the board of Goldman Sachs that they are going to lose $2 per share.”

Those conversations set off an investigation of Mr. Gupta. He was arrested in October 2011 and charged with leaking boardroom secrets about Goldman and P.& G. to Mr. Rajaratnam. A jury convicted him in May after a monthlong trial.

On Wednesday at Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge Jed S. Rakoff will sentence Mr. Gupta. Federal prosecutors are seeking a prison term of up to 10 years. Mr. Gupta’s lawyers have asked Judge Rakoff for a nonprison sentence of probation and community service. One proposal by the defense would have Mr. Gupta living in Rwanda and working on global health issues.

Regardless of his sentence, Mr. Gupta plans to appeal. And because prosecutors used wiretap evidence in his trial, Mr. Gupta would benefit from a reversal of Mr. Rajaratnam’s conviction.

Yet a reversal would not affect the convictions of the defendants in the conspiracy who have pleaded guilty. As part of their pleas, those defendants waived their rights to an appeal.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former Corporate Chairman of Consulting Firm and Board of Director Rajat Gupta Found Guilty of Insider Trading in Manhattan Federal Court

June 15, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 15, 2012 released the following:

“Gupta Convicted on Four Counts Arising from an Insider Trading Scheme in which He Provided Confidential Information About Goldman Sachs to His Business Partner and Friend, Raj Rajaratnam

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District announced that Rajat K. Gupta, former corporate chairman of an international consulting firm and a member of the Boards of Directors of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (“Goldman Sachs”) and the Procter & Gamble Company (“P&G”), was found guilty today by a jury in Manhattan federal court of conspiracy and securities fraud crimes stemming from his involvement in an insider trading scheme with his business partner and friend, Raj Rajaratnam, the founder and former head of the Galleon Group.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated, “Rajat Gupta once stood at the apex of the international business community. Today, he stands convicted of securities fraud. He achieved remarkable success and stature, but he threw it all away. Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Mr. Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell. Violating clear and sacrosanct duties of confidentiality, Mr. Gupta illegally provided a virtual open line into the board room for his benefactor and business partner, Raj Rajaratnam.

“Almost two years ago, we said that insider trading is rampant, and today’s conviction puts that claim into stark relief. It bears repeating that, in coordination with our extraordinary partners at the FBI, we will continue to pursue those who violate the securities laws, regardless of status, wealth, or influence. I thank the members of the jury for their time, attention, and service, and the dedicated career prosecutors from my office who so ably tried this case.”

According to the superseding indictment filed in Manhattan federal court, other court documents, statements made at trial, and court proceedings:

During all relevant times, Gupta and Rajaratnam maintained a close personal and business relationship. Among other things, Gupta described Rajaratnam as a close friend; Gupta invested his money in Galleon funds while he served as chairman of the international consulting firm; Gupta co-owned a fund of funds with Rajaratnam, which invested its money in Galleon funds; Gupta served as chairman of a $1.5 billion private equity firm called NSR in which Rajaratnam invested approximately $50 million and served on the investment committee; and Gupta was given the position of Chairman of Galleon International in 2008 and expected to receive 15 percent of that fund’s performance fees.

From 2007 through January 2009, Gupta repeatedly disclosed material, non-public information (“inside information”) that he acquired in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs, with the understanding that Rajaratnam would use the inside information to purchase and sell securities. Rajaratnam, in turn, caused the execution of transactions in the securities of Goldman Sachs on the basis of the inside information and shared the inside information with others at Galleon, thereby earning illegal profits, and illegally avoiding losses, of millions of dollars. On separate occasions that were proven at trial, Gupta gave Rajaratnam inside information that included highly sensitive and secret information. Illegal tips that were proven at trial include the following:

The September 23, 2008 Goldman Sachs Tip

The evidence at trial proved that, on September 23, 2008, within approximately 60 seconds after the conclusion of a Goldman Sachs telephonic board meeting in which the Board approved a $5 billion investment by Berkshire Hathaway, Gupta spoke with Rajaratnam. Immediately following the call, Rajaratnam directed two separate traders to purchase approximately $43 million of Goldman Sachs stock within minutes before the close of trading. During two court-authorized wiretapped conversations the following morning on September 24, 2008 between Rajaratnam and his principal trader and coconspirator, Ian Horowitz, Rajaratnam said that he received a call at 3:58 p.m. the day before telling him “something good’s gonna happen” at Goldman Sachs, that he directed the two traders to buy Goldman shares before the market closed, and that he could not yell this information out on Galleon’s trading floor. The evidence at trial showed that, based on Gupta’s illegal tip, Rajaratnam and co-conspirator Gary Rosenbach earned over $1 million in illegal profits.

The October 23, 2008 Goldman Sachs Tip

The evidence at trial proved that, on October 23, 2008, Gupta participated on a Goldman Sachs Board posting call during which he learned that Goldman Sachs was losing money for the quarter, which Goldman Sachs had never done since becoming a public company. Just 23 seconds after that call ended, Gupta called Rajaratnam. Following that call, at the first available opportunity after the stock market reopened, Rajaratnam started to sell his entire holdings in Goldman Sachs stock. Later that day, during a court-authorized wiretapped conversation, Rajaratnam explained to a senior portfolio manager at Galleon International that Rajaratnam had spoken with a member of the Board of Goldman Sachs and learned that Goldman Sachs was losing money during the quarter while Wall Street analysts expected the company to make money. The evidence at trial showed that, based on Gupta’s illegal tip, Rajaratnam was able to avoid losses of several million dollars.

* * *

Gupta, 63, of Westport, Connecticut, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud. He was acquitted on two securities fraud counts. The conspiracy count 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. Gupta will be sentenced on October 18, 2012.

Rajaratnam was convicted in a jury trial on May 11, 2011 of 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. He was sentenced on October 13, 2011 to 11 years in prison and was ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $53,816,434 and a $10 million fine.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI. He also thanked the SEC for its assistance in the investigation.

This case was brought in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which U.S. Attorney Bharara serves as a co-chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch and, with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reed Brodsky and Richard C. Tarlowe are in charge of the prosecution.

– Statement by FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge Janice K. Fedarcyk on Gupta’s conviction”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Appeal

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Detail by Detail, Gupta’s Lawyer Deconstructs Goldman Testimony

June 11, 2012

The New York Times on June 11, 2012 released the following:

“BY AZAM AHMED AND PETER LATTMAN

It had to have been among the least productive weeks of Lloyd C. Blankfein’s six-year tenure as the chief executive of Goldman Sachs.

For the better part of three days this week, Mr. Blankfein testified at the trial of Rajat K. Gupta, the former Goldman director who is facing charges that he leaked the bank’s secret boardroom discussions to the hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam from 2007 to 2009.

Though Mr. Blankfein appeared at ease in the courtroom, he had to clear his busy calendar. He could not monitor the volatility in the financial markets. He could not even check his BlackBerry, to which he has acknowledged something of an addiction. In short, he could not do his job.

Instead, Mr. Blankfein, who has spent most of his career in the fast-paced environment of a trading floor, had to sit still on the witness stand and respond to hours of often-monotonous questions. Lawyers on both sides had him discuss Goldman’s inner workings, from the contents of board meetings to his relationship with his lieutenants.

Goldman has played a starring role in the trial of Mr. Gupta, which wrapped up its third week in Federal District Court in Manhattan before Judge Jed S. Rakoff. The prosecution rested its case on Friday, and the defense began to put on its own witnesses.

Late Friday, after the jury had gone home for the weekend, Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, said it was “highly likely” that Mr. Gupta would testify in his own defense next week.

Mr. Naftalis spent much of Friday cross-examining Mr. Blankfein to try to show that some of the information Mr. Gupta is accused of leaking was known by the market and thus not “material nonpublic information” under the insider trading laws.

The line between public and private information is critical in the case, and Mr. Naftalis worked hard to try to erase that line. He showed Mr. Blankfein two reports from analysts who followed Goldman during the 2008 financial crisis. The reports, written by analysts at Merrill Lynch and Oppenheimer, raise the prospect of Goldman buying a retail bank. Both reports came after meetings with top Goldman officials.

“GS Bank & Trust?” pondered one report. “Don’t rule it out.”

A rationale for putting the reports before the jury was to minimize damage from the only phone conversation between the two recorded by a Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretap. During that call, in July 2008, Mr. Gupta tells Mr. Rajaratnam that Goldman’s board is considering buying a bank.

A jury convicted Mr. Rajaratnam, who ran the now-defunct Galleon Group hedge fund, of orchestrating an extensive insider trading conspiracy last year.

At times, Mr. Naftalis and Mr. Blankfein often seemed to fight for the jury’s affection. While Mr. Blankfein was being presented with a batch of news pieces about Goldman’s possible purchase of a bank, an article flashed on the overhead screen with a photograph of Mr. Blankfein resting his face on his left hand. This prompted laughter from the jury and spectators.

Mr. Blankfein, seizing the moment, mimicked the pose from the witness stand, leading to more cackling in the courtroom.

Comparing Mr. Blankfein’s pose against the photograph, Mr. Naftalis instructed the chief executive to move his hand “down and a little to the left.”

As he left the courtroom, Mr. Blankfein acknowledged the jury with a nod and a smile.

Before resting their case on Friday, prosecutors played several secretly recorded short voice mail messages left by Mr. Gupta on Mr. Rajaratnam’s cellphone. During one on Oct. 10, 2008, a time of market turmoil during the financial crisis, Mr. Gupta says: “Hey Raj, Rajat here. Just calling to catch up. I know it must be an awful and busy week. I hope you are holding up well. Uh, and I’ll try to give you a call over the weekend just to catch up. All the best to you, talk to you soon. Bye bye.”

Mr. Gupta’s lawyers have said that by October 2008, Mr. Gupta had lost his entire $10 million in a Galleon fund and had a falling-out with Mr. Rajaratnam and thus had no interest in passing along insider tips. The friendly tone of the voice mail message was the prosecution’s effort to debunk that theory. Reed Brodsky, a prosecutor, rested the government’s case after playing the recordings.

For the last 45 minutes of the day, the jury watched the defense’s videotaped deposition of Ajit Jain, a top lieutenant at Berkshire Hathaway and a top contender to succeed Warren E. Buffett, Berkshire’s chief executive.

Mr. Jain, a friend of Mr. Gupta’s, testified about the acrimony that had developed between Mr. Gupta and Mr. Rajaratnam. He said that during a lunch in January 2009 at an Italian restaurant in Stamford, Conn., Mr. Gupta told him about the bad blood.

“He told me that he had $10 million invested and he had been gypped, swindled and cheated by Raj and had lost his $10 million.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


S.E.C. Told to Share Notes in Insider Trading Case

March 28, 2012

The New York Times on March 27, 2012 released the following:

“BY PETER LATTMAN

A federal judge has ordered Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers to turn over their notes to federal prosecutors handling the criminal case against Rajat K. Gupta, a former director of Goldman Sachs.

The ruling was part of a flurry of pretrial orders from Judge Jed S. Rakoff, who is presiding over the case.

Mr. Gupta, who is charged with leaking Goldman’s boardroom secrets to his friend, the convicted hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, is scheduled to go on trial May 21.

Among the more significant orders, Judge Rakoff said federal prosecutors must review the S.E.C.’s notes about 44 interviews of witnesses during its investigation of Mr. Gupta and disclose any exculpatory evidence to the defense. Federal prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, who jointly conducted the 44 interviews with the S.E.C., argued that they had no obligation to review the S.E.C.’s notes because the two investigations were separate.

Judge Rakoff disagreed with the government’s position.

“That separate government agencies having overlapping jurisdiction will cooperate in the factual investigation of the same alleged misconduct makes perfect sense; but that they can then disclaim such cooperation to avoid their respective discovery obligations makes no sense at all,” Judge Rakoff wrote.

The S.E.C. and the Justice Department have long run parallel investigations, but the line between them can often become blurred. Judge Rakoff noted that there was a constitutional duty for prosecutors to disclose any exculpatory evidence — called Brady material — to the defense, regardless of whether the notes came from the S.E.C.

“To hold that these memoranda were not created as part of a joint factual investigation would make a mockery of the ‘joint investigation’ standard as applied to the defendant’s constitutional right to receive all information the government has available to it that tends to show his innocence,” Judge Rakoff wrote.

In other rulings, Judge Rakoff ordered that Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, must sit for an additional two hours of depositions to be taken by Mr. Gupta’s lawyers. Mr. Blankfein was deposed for seven hours last month, and is expected to be a witness at Mr. Gupta’s trial.

The dispute over Mr. Blankfein’s testimony arose when, during the February deposition, Mr. Gupta’s lawyer asked Mr. Blankfein whom he had met with to prepare for the deposition. He responded that he had met with both federal prosecutors, S.E.C. lawyers and an F.B.I. agent. When Mr. Gupta’s lawyer asked Mr. Blankfein what the government asked at these meetings, the S.E.C. objected, citing work product protections.

Judge Rakoff ruled that Mr. Blankfein must answer these questions.

“By asking Blankfein what topics he recalls were discussed, what questions he was asked and what documents he was shown, defendants seek to discover how the preparation sessions affected Blankfein’s testimony, and do not demonstrate a mere naked attempt to obtain the S.E.C.’s and the U.S.A.O.’s legal opinions and strategy,” the judge wrote.

Judge Rakoff also issued several rulings that went against Mr. Gupta. He denied his lawyers’ motion to suppress the use of wiretaps at trial and to dismiss three of the counts in the government’s complaint that were claimed to be either vague or duplicative.

On the wiretap issue, Judge Rakoff said: “The simple truth is that, in both this and numerous other cases, insider trading cannot often be detected, let alone successfully prosecuted, without the aid of wiretaps.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Gupta Faces New Charges in Insider Trading Case

February 1, 2012

The New York Times on January 31, 2012 released the following:

“BY PETER LATTMAN

Federal prosecutors expanded their case against Rajat K. Gupta on Tuesday, filing a new indictment that broadens what they claim was an insider trading conspiracy between the former director of Goldman Sachs and Raj Rajaratnam.

In a new charge, the government contends that Mr. Gupta called in to a Goldman board meeting in March 2007 from Mr. Rajaratnam’s offices at the Galleon Group hedge fund. Minutes after the call, he leaked secret information about the bank to Mr. Rajaratnam, the government says.

Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, denied the new accusations, saying, “As we have stated from the onset, the government’s allegations are totally baseless.”

Last October, the government charged Mr. Gupta with leaking to Mr. Rajaratnam boardroom secrets about Goldman and Procter & Gamble, where he also served as a director. It was a stunning blow to Mr. Gupta, who as the former global head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Company was one of the world’s most respected businessmen.

His trial is set for April 9 before Judge Jed S. Rakoff in Federal District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Rajaratnam, who was convicted by a jury last May of leading a huge insider trading ring, is serving an 11-year prison term.

The new charges seem to counter one of Mr. Gupta’s main lines of defense. At pretrial hearings, Mr. Gupta’s lawyers have said that the relationship between Mr. Gupta and Mr. Rajaratnam, once close friends and business associates, had soured by 2008, which is when the government said that Mr. Gupta leaked corporate secrets to Mr. Rajaratnam. The lawyers attribute the falling out to a $10 million loss on an investment with Mr. Rajaratnam.

By stretching the conspiracy back to 2007, when the markets were still soaring and Galleon’s investments were performing well, the government appears to be countering the defense that Mr. Rajaratnam had fallen out of Mr. Gupta’s good graces.

In addition, the accusation that Mr. Gupta participated in a Goldman board call from Galleon’s offices suggests a coziness between the two men that Mr. Gupta’s lawyers have sought to debunk.

The additional charges against Mr. Gupta involve both Goldman and Procter & Gamble.

In one new count, prosecutors assert that Mr. Gupta, then a Goldman director, participated in a telephone meeting of the board’s audit committee in March 2007 from Galleon. Mr. Gupta heard a preview of Goldman’s earnings, which were strong and set for release the next morning, the government contends. About 25 minutes after the call, Galleon bought at least $70 million worth of Goldman shares, allowing the fund to profit when the bank’s shares rose the next morning.

In the other added charge, the government asserts that Mr. Gupta called Mr. Rajaratnam from Switzerland after participating in a Procter & Gamble board call and leaked information about the company’s coming earnings release.

Separately, Richard J. Holwell, the federal judge who presided over the trial of Mr. Rajaratnam, is retiring from the bench, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss it.

The timing of Judge Holwell’s retirement is unclear, but he is expected to return to private practice. He was a partner at the law firm White & Case before becoming a judge in 2003.

Judge Holwell did not respond to a request for comment.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former McKinsey CEO Gupta pleads not guilty to insider-trading charges

October 27, 2011
Rajat K. Gupta
Image from The Washington Post

The Washington Post on October 26, 2011 released the following:

“By David S. Hilzenrath, Published: October 26

From Kolkata, India, Rajat K. Gupta rose to the heights of international business, leading the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and serving on the boards of companies such as Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble and the parent of American Airlines.

But on Wednesday, Gupta turned himself in at the New York office of the FBI, where he was fingerprinted, photographed and subjected to a DNA swab before going to court to face criminal charges that he participated in an insider trading scheme.

Gupta, 62, became the most prominent figure charged in a federal crackdown on insider trading that recently led to an 11-year prison sentence for his alleged co-conspirator, hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam.

The indictment alleges that Gupta divulged boardroom secrets to Rajaratnam, who then traded on them.

Gupta pleaded not guilty and was released. He was given until Nov. 11 to surrender his passport and post a $10 million bond secured by his Connecticut home.

Gupta’s attorney, Gary P. Naftalis, issued a statement saying that the charges “are totally baseless.”

“The facts in this case demonstrate that Mr. Gupta is innocent of any of these charges and that he has always acted with honesty and integrity,” Naftalis said.

Gupta had been under a cloud for months. The government declared him an unindicted co-conspirator during its prosecution of Rajaratnam, and shortly before Rajaratnam’s trial began, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged him administratively, laying out the allegations against him.

After losing a procedural battle, the SEC withdrew the administrative case in August, but on Wednesday it filed a civil suit against Gupta that paralleled the criminal charges.

According to the government, the conspiracy played out in 2008 and 2009. Sometimes, Gupta passed secrets to Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon Management, so quickly that his tips “could be termed instant messaging,” Janice K. Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.

For example, on Sept. 23, 2008, as Wall Street teetered on the brink of collapse, Gupta participated by phone in a meeting in which the Goldman Sachs board approved a $5 billion infusion from Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. At about 3:54 p.m., approximately 16 seconds after Gupta disconnected his phone from the Goldman call, his assistant phoned Rajaratnam and patched in Gupta, the indictment said. Gupta then told Rajaratnam about the Berkshire investment, the government said.

With two minutes to spare before the market closed, Rajaratnam then caused some of Galleon’s funds to buy Goldman shares, the government said. Goldman announced the deal with Berkshire after the market closed, and the next day Galleon sold the Goldman shares at an illegal profit of about $840,000, the government charged.

Similarly, in October 2008, Gupta and other Goldman directors were told that the Wall Street firm had lost almost $2 per share that quarter in what would be the first quarterly loss in Goldman’s history, the government said. Approximately 23 seconds after disconnecting from that call, Gupta called Rajaratnam, the indictment said. By selling Goldman shares, Galleon funds avoided millions of dollars of losses, the government said.

Entrusted with confidential information, Gupta “became the illegal eyes and ears in the boardroom for his friend and business associate,” Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for Manhattan, said in a statement.

Naftalis, the defense lawyer, said that there were legitimate reasons for Gupta’s communications with Rajaratnam and that the accusations “are based entirely on circumstantial evidence.”

Rajaratnam was convicted largely on the basis of government wiretaps, and verbatim excerpts of secretly recorded calls have figured prominently in other recent insider trading cases. The Gupta indictment does not explicitly cite recordings of Gupta passing inside information to Rajaratnam.

But in a July 2008 call captured by the government, Gupta talked to Rajaratnam about a Goldman board discussion and a rumor that Goldman might try to buy a commercial bank, according to a transcript.

“This was a big discussion at the board meeting,” Gupta allegedly said, adding that it was a “divided discussion in the board.”

Gupta’s fall from the top of the business world followed a dramatic rise.

In a 1994 interview with Business Today, the native of India said his father was a journalist and freedom fighter who had been jailed many times, and his mother taught at a Montessori school. He went from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi to Harvard Business School, where his classmates were surprised to learn he earned excellent grades.

“I never said much, you know,” he told the interviewer.

At age 45, he was running McKinsey, a post he held from 1994 to 2003.

He served on a board of advisers to the dean of Harvard Business School and on a similar panel at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. He chaired an advisory panel for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and he became a special adviser to the secretary general of the United Nations.

Gupta’s trial is scheduled to begin in April.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


U.S. Expected to Charge Executive Tied to Galleon Case

October 26, 2011
Rajat K. Gupta
Douglas Healey for The New York Times
Rajat Gupta at his home in Westport, Conn., on Wednesday morning.

The New York Times on October 25, 2011 released the following:

“BY AZAM AHMED, PETER LATTMAN AND BEN PROTESS

Federal prosecutors are expected to file criminal charges on Wednesday against Rajat K. Gupta, the most prominent business executive ensnared in an aggressive insider trading investigation, according to people briefed on the case.

The case against Mr. Gupta, 62, who is expected to surrender to F.B.I. agents on Wednesday, would extend the reach of the government’s inquiry into America’s most prestigious corporate boardrooms. Most of the defendants charged with insider trading over the last two years have plied their trade exclusively on Wall Street.

The charges would also mean a stunning fall from grace of a trusted adviser to political leaders and chief executives of the world’s most celebrated companies.

A former director of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble and the longtime head of McKinsey & Company, the elite consulting firm, Mr. Gupta has been under investigation over whether he leaked corporate secrets to Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund manager who was sentenced this month to 11 years in prison for trading on illegal stock tips.

While there has been no indication yet that Mr. Gupta profited directly from the information he passed to Mr. Rajaratnam, securities laws prohibit company insiders from divulging corporate secrets to those who then profit from them.

The case against Mr. Gupta, who lives in Westport, Conn., would tie up a major loose end in the long-running investigation of Mr. Rajaratnam’s hedge fund, the Galleon Group. Yet federal authorities continue their campaign to ferret out insider trading on multiple fronts. This month, for example, a Denver-based hedge fund manager and a chemist at the Food and Drug Administration pleaded guilty to such charges.

A spokeswoman for the United States attorney in Manhattan declined to comment.

Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Mr. Gupta, said in a statement: “The facts demonstrate that Mr. Gupta is an innocent man and that he acted with honesty and integrity.”

Mr. Gupta, in his role at the helm of McKinsey, was a trusted adviser to business leaders including Jeffrey R. Immelt, of General Electric, and Henry R. Kravis, of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. A native of Kolkata, India, and a graduate of the Harvard Business School, Mr. Gupta has also been a philanthropist, serving as a senior adviser to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Gupta also served as a special adviser to the United Nations.

His name emerged just a week before Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial in March, when the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an administrative proceeding against him. The agency accused Mr. Gupta of passing confidential information about Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble to Mr. Rajaratnam, who then traded on the news.

The details were explosive. Authorities said Mr. Gupta gave Mr. Rajaratnam advanced word of Warren E. Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs during the darkest days of the financial crisis in addition to other sensitive information affecting the company’s share price.

At the time, federal prosecutors named Mr. Gupta a co-conspirator of Mr. Rajaratnam, but they never charged him. Still, his presence loomed large at Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial. Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman, testified about Mr. Gupta’s role on the board and the secrets he was privy to, including earnings details and the bank’s strategic deliberations.

The legal odyssey leading to charges against Mr. Gupta could serve as a case study in law school criminal procedure class. He fought the S.E.C.’s civil action, which would have been heard before an administrative judge. Mr. Gupta argued that the proceeding denied him of his constitutional right to a jury trial and treated him differently than the other Mr. Rajaratnam-related defendants, all of whom the agency sued in federal court.

Mr. Gupta prevailed, and the S.E.C. dropped its case in August, but it maintained the right to bring an action in federal court. The agency is expected to file a new, parallel civil case against Mr. Gupta as well. It is unclear what has changed since the S.E.C. dropped its case in August.

An S.E.C. spokesman declined to comment.

The case could be a challenge for the government. Many of the defendants convicted of insider trading, including Mr. Rajaratnam, have been caught on wiretaps swapping secret information.

At Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial, the government played a recorded conversation between Mr. Gupta and Mr. Rajaratnam in July 2008. On that call, Mr. Gupta divulged that Goldman was considering a purchase of either Wachovia or American International Group.

Evidence that Mr. Rajaratnam traded on this information was never presented, however.

Two of the most incriminating calls played in court pertained to tips that the government said had come from Mr. Gupta. But those calls were conversations between Mr. Rajaratnam and his employees, which could make them inadmissible in a trial of Mr. Gupta.

In one call played for the jury, Mr. Rajaratnam told a colleague, “I heard yesterday from somebody who’s on the board of Goldman Sachs that they are going to lose $2 per share.” In the other, Mr. Rajaratnam said to his trader, “I got a call saying something good is going to happen to Goldman.”

The S.E.C.’s original case also outlined evidence that could potentially be used at trial. That includes Mr. Gupta’s phone records of on Sept. 23, 2008. That day, the Goldman board met via telephone to consider Mr. Buffett’s $5 billion investment in Goldman.

“Immediately after disconnecting from the board call, Gupta called Rajaratnam from the same line,” the S.E.C. filing says. A minute later, Galleon funds bought more than 175,000 shares of Goldman just before the market closed, the agency says, and later netted a $900,000 profit when the deal was announced.

Though he had an enviable résumé and earned millions of dollars a year at McKinsey, Mr. Gupta became fixated on the extraordinary wealth showered on hedge fund managers and private equity chiefs, according to trial testimony. Consultants are well paid, but the compensation pales in comparison to those Wall Street titans.

Around the time of his retirement in 2007, he and Mr. Rajaratnam helped start New Silk Route, a private equity firm focused on investments in India. Though Mr. Rajaratnam never had an active role in the firm, he and Mr. Gupta were good friends, having met through their philanthropic interests.

Mr. Gupta periodically visited Mr. Rajaratnam’s hedge fund, Galleon, on Madison Avenue and 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The two would order Indian or Chinese takeout and kibitz in Mr. Rajaratnam’s office. Mr. Gupta became an investor in Galleon’s hedge funds.

As part of his foray into Wall Street, Mr. Gupta took a senior adviser post at K.K.R., the firm co-founded by his friend Mr. Kravis. During Mr. Rajaratnam’s trial, prosecutors played a tape of the hedge fund manager gossiping with a friend about Mr. Gupta’s ambitions.

“My analysis of the situation is he’s enamored with Kravis, and I think he wants to be in that circle,” Mr. Rajaratnam said. “That’s a billionaire circle, right?””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.