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U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara -- a modern-day Eliot Ness?

June 15, 2012|By Joe Bel Bruno
  • Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a news conference to announce insider trading charges.
Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks… (Peter Foley / Bloomberg )

U.S. Atty. Preetinder "Preet" Sing Bharara -- a modern-day version of Eliot Ness?

Back in the late 1920s, Ness made a name for himself as a Prohibition agent and leader of a law enforcement team called "The Untouchables." He went after bootleggers, gangsters including Al Capone.

These days, the public has turned its attention to Wall Street wrongdoing after the financial crisis. And Bharara -- who was named this year by Time magazine as "One of The 100 Most Influential People in the World" -- has notched conviction after conviction in a sweeping insider trading investigation.

Today's conviction of former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. director Rajat Gupta marks the most high-profile figure to fall for leaking corporate secrets, and a black eye to Wall Street's biggest investment bank. This caps a wave of prosecutions in the sweeping insider trading investigation that also nabbed fallen hedge fund giant Raj Rajaratnam.

Bharara says he's not finished. Here's his statement released shortly after Gupta's conviction:

"Rajat Gupta once stood at the apex of the international business community.  Today, he stands convicted of securities fraud.  He achieved remarkable success and stature, but he threw it all away.  Having fallen from respected insider to convicted inside trader, Mr. Gupta has now exchanged the lofty board room for the prospect of a lowly jail cell.  Violating clear and sacrosanct duties of confidentiality, Mr. Gupta illegally provided a virtual open line into the board room for his benefactor and business partner, Raj Rajaratnam. 

Almost two years ago, we said that insider trading is rampant, and today’s conviction puts that claim into stark relief.  It bears repeating that, in coordination with our extraordinary partners at the FBI, we will continue to pursue those who violate the securities laws, regardless of status, wealth, or influence.  I thank the members of the jury for their time, attention, and service, and the dedicated career prosecutors from my office who so ably tried this case."


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