Federal Judge Denies Rajat Gupta's Latest Insider Trading Appeal

Jul 2 2015 | 5:06pm ET

Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta’s bid to get his insider trading conviction thrown out has been rejected by a federal judge.

The focus of one of the largest insider trading investigations in recent memory is currently serving a two-year prison term. He had sought to have his conviction and sentence vacated because the prosecutors were unable to prove he personally benefitted from passing investment tips to others, including former Galleon Group hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

Gutpa was found guilty in 2012 of passing privileged information about Berkshire Hathaway’s impending investment in Goldman Sachs, as well as details regarding the bank’s financial results, to Rajaratnam in 2008. He has appealed the decision as far as the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to review the case. 

But late last year, the U.S. Second Circuit Court held that prosecutors had to not only prove that a defendant derived personal benefit “of some consequence” from leaking information, but also that a person trading on information knew that the person or persons giving it to them was violating a duty to keep it secret by doing so. 

The decision has brought other convictions that came out of the insider-trading crackdown into question, and has resulted in the overturning of convictions against hedge fund managers Todd Newman and Anthony Chiasson.

The decision formed the basis of Gupta’s request to have his conviction voided.

However, U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff, who presided over Gupta’s original trial, was not persuaded. He determined that Gupta’s conviction was valid because the 2nd Circuit’s decision applied more to the person receiving a tip, not the one giving it. In this case, Gupta was the so-called tipper, and thus remains liable for securities fraud, according to the ruling. 

Gupta will be eligible for parole in March 2016.  

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