News Column

Hedge fund founder's brother gets acquitted

July 8, 2014

By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY



The brother of an imprisoned ex-billionaire hedge fund founder was acquitted of conspiracy Wednesday, ending a string of insider trading convictions won by Manhattan federal prosecutors.

A jury returned the verdict Tuesday at the insider trading trial of Rengan Rajaratnam, 43.

His brother, Raj Rajaratnam, founded the Galleon Group of hedge funds. He's serving an 11-year federal prison term for reaping up to $75 million in profits and avoided losses based on non-public financial information he obtained about several firms.

Two dozen other defendants have pleaded guilty or were convicted in the case against the hedge fund founder.

Rengan Rajaratnam, who worked at Galleon Group, was accused in a March 2013 indictment. Prosecutors alleged that he conspired with his older brother and others in receiving and trading on non-public information about several firms, including wireless broadband venture Clearwire and semiconductor giant Advanced Micro Devices.

The younger Rajaratnam returned to the United States from Brazil, where he had been living, to fight the allegations.

Rajaratnam initially faced conspiracy and securities fraud charges. But as his trial neared an end, all but the conspiracy charge had been dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by a federal judge. The jury acquitted Rajaratnam on the lone remaining count.

Defense attorney Daniel Gitner said the prosecution had "failed on every score" to prove its case.

The acquittal came after Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara's office had secured jury verdicts or guilty pleas to insider trading charges by 85 other defendants.

"While we are disappointed with the verdict on the sole count that the jury was permitted to consider, we respect the jury trial system whatever the outcome, and we thank the jury for their service," said Bharara.

Contributing: The Associated Press




Louis Lanzano, AP


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Source: USA Today


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