Rajaratnam Suffered Stroke, Needs Kidney Transplant

Oct 14 2011 | 8:28am ET

Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam suffered a stroke four years ago—one of many ailments the convicted insider-trader suffers or has suffered from, according to an unsealed court filing.

The 54-year-old, who was sentenced yesterday to 11 years in prison, has diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea, Philip Wise, a former federal prison warden consulted by Rajaratnam’s lawyers, wrote.

Rajaratnam has been insulin-dependent for eight years and may be in immediate need of kidney dialysis. The former billionaire also needs a kidney transplant—a process already begun by his doctors, Wise wrote.

“His diabetes remains under poor control,” Wise wrote in the filing. “As a result, he has suffered diabetic nerve damage, diabetic eye damage, advanced diabetic kidney damage and chronic anemia.” The 2007 stroke was described by Wise as a “severe cryptogenic stroke.”

The prosecution’s own expert, Sandra Howard, clinical director of the federal medical center in Devens, Mass., argued that “Rajaratnam has medical conditions that are managed routinely by the Federal Bureau of Prisons at major medical centers such as FMC Devens and does not appear to have any issues that are not commonly dealt with on a daily basis at FMC Devens.”

The defense’s expert, Wise, disputed that, saying that “Mr. Rajaratnam and the Bureau of Prisons will face significant challenges” that “will result in an overall lower level of medical care.” He also noted, in response to Howard, that three of the drugs Rajaratnam uses are not on the Bureau of Prison’s list of approved medications.

“Based on the information that we have provided there are serious doubts as to whether the Bureau of Prisons can provide the care that he needs,” Terence Lynam, one of Rajaratnam’s lawyers, said. “Any lengthy term of imprisonment will surely shorten his life.”

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell, who imposed the 11-year sentence along with two years of probation and a $10 million fine, plans to ask the Bureau of Prisons to send Rajaratnam to the federal medical center in Butner, N.C. That is the same prison complex that houses his fellow hedge fund fraudsters Bernard Madoff and Bayou Group’s Samuel Israel.

There is no guarantee that Holwell’s recommendation will be heeded.

Holwell rejected a defense request to allow Rajaratnam to remain under home confinement pending his appeal of the guilty verdict. Rajaratnam must report to prison by Nov. 28.

Rajaratnam did not speak at the hearing, other than to provide yes or no answers to a handful of questions put to him by Holwell.

“Simple justice requires a lengthy sentence,” Holwell said.

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