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Rajat Gupta, ex-director at Goldman, won't testify at own trial

Rajat Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs board member accused of insider trading, could face a 25-year sentence if convicted of sharing confidential Goldman information with Galleon Group's Raj Rajaratnam.

June 11, 2012|By Chad Terhune
  • The trial of former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta is part of one of the biggest insider-trading investigations in decades by the federal government, highlighted by the aggressive use of wiretapped conversations. Above, Gupta arrives at federal court in New York.
The trial of former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta is part of one… (Peter Foley, Bloomberg )

Rajat Gupta, a formerGoldman Sachs Group Inc.board member accused of insider trading, won't testify this week in his own defense, his lawyer said.

Gupta's chief lawyer, Gary Naftalis, said in a letter Sunday to the federal court in New York that his client won't take the stand after saying earlier that it was "highly likely." Gupta has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say the government's case is speculative.

Federal prosecutors rested their case Friday. Gupta faces as long as 25 years in prison if convicted on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy.

"After substantial reflection and consideration, we have determined that Mr. Gupta will not be a witness on his own behalf," Naftalis wrote to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff.

Gupta's trial is part of one of the biggest insider-trading investigations in decades by the federal government, highlighted by the aggressive use of wiretapped conversations. However, legal experts say a conviction in Gupta's case won't mute calls for more prosecutions of senior Wall Street executives for their alleged roles in the financial crisis.

The trial of Gupta, who is accused of sharing confidential information about Goldman to Galleon Group hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, is expected to conclude this week. Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years in prison after his own trial on insider-trading charges last year.

The FBI recorded Gupta telling Rajaratnam that Goldman was in discussions about acquiring a bank during the financial crisis in 2008. Gupta, 63, is also accused of giving Rajaratnam insider tips about Procter & Gamble Co., where he also served as a director.

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman's chairman and chief executive, testified last week that Gupta was aware of confidential information related to the company's financial performance and other key developments, such as investor Warren Buffett's infusion of $5 billion into Goldman in September 2008.

Gupta has enjoyed a high-profile business career and served as a trusted advisor to major companies. He ran the global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. from 1994 to 2003.

chad.terhune@latimes.com

Times staff writer Andrew Tangel in New York contributed to this report.

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