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Mogul convicted in US fraud crackdown

Raj Rajaratnam always looked like he was one step ahead of rival investors, building a multibillion-dollar fortune on the back of well-timed bets on global share prices and turning his hedge fund, Galleon Group, into one of Wall Street's most powerful.

Now we know how he did it: he was the kingpin in a massive conspiracy to harvest secret share tips from corporate informants, building Galleon in part on the profits of insider dealing, a Manhattan jury has found.

On nine counts of securities fraud and five of conspiracy to commit fraud, the foreman delivered its verdict to Rajaratnam on Wednesday: guilty as charged.

For prosecutors, Rajaratnam represents the biggest scalp in a sprawling investigation into insider trading by hedge funds and their managers, and their biggest success against white-collar crime in the investment world since the scandals of the 1980s.

Born in Sri Lanka and educated at the University of Sussex, Rajaratnam had appeared the model Wall Street success, but his hunger for gaining an "edge" over rival investors took him beyond the bounds of the law time and time again.

Galleon managed $3.7bn (£2.3bn) at its height, much of it Rajaratnam's own money.

Rajaratnam's lawyers indicated the fight was not over and that they would appeal the verdict.

Their client now faces the prospect of swapping his billionaire lifestyle for a jail term that could stretch to 20 years or possibly more.

Last night he remained free on a $100m bail bond, though now Rajaratnam has to wear an electronic tag around his ankle.


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