New York: Rajat Gupta, a former Indian-American director of Goldman Sachs Group, has been sentenced to two years in prison for leaking boardroom secrets to the former Sri Lankan-American hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
Judge Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court in Manhattan Wednesday handed down Kolkata, India born Gupta, 63, a more lenient prison sentence than the eight to 10 years stipulated by non-binding federal sentencing guidelines.
He was also ordered to pay a $5 million fine.
In a statement, Preet Bharara the Indian-American attorney in Manhattan, said of Gupta, “His conduct has forever tarnished a once-sterling reputation that took years to cultivate.”
“We hope that others who might consider breaking the securities laws will take heed from this sad occasion and choose not to follow in Gupta’s footsteps,” he added.
Prosecutors had urged a sentence of 97 to 121 months for Gupta, who was convicted last June for insider trading on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Gupta’s lawyers on the other hand had suggested he could repay for his “shocking” crimes by working for a homeless youth shelter in New York or in Rwanda, helping improve health care and develop agriculture in rural areas.
In support of its arguments about Gupta’s “exemplary life of uncommon accomplishment” and dedication as a family man despite a demanding career, Gupta’s lawyers had sent the judge more than 400 letters from Gupta’s relatives and supporters.
These included former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Microsoft chairman Bill Gates that Rakoff has received through his lawyers.
Prosecution had alleged that within a minute of disconnecting from a September 2008 board call approving a $5 billion investment in Goldman by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, Gupta had called Rajaratnam, who then invested $40 million in Goldman stock.
Gupta was cleared of divulging Proctor & Gamble’s quarterly earnings in January 2009. He was also found not guilty of illegally telling Rajaratnam about Goldman’s quarterly earnings after a March 12, 2007, board meeting.
Gupta is one of 23 people criminally charged in a seven-year insider trading conspiracy orchestrated by Galleon hedge fund co-founder Rajaratnam, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence.