Hedge Fund Manager Raj Rajaratnam Ordered by SEC to Pay $92.8M Penalty for Insider Trading

In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Honorable Jed S. Rakoff has ordered Raj Rajaratnam to pay a record $92.8 million penalty for insider trading. This is the largest amount any individual has been ordered to pay for this type of securities fraud.

It was just last month that Rajaratnam, the billionaire Galleon Group, LLC co-founder, was sentenced to 11 years in prison and ordered to pay $10 million for his financial scam that garnered $63.8M in illegal gains. He also was forced to forfeit $53.8M. A jury had convicted Rajaratnam of multiple counts of securities fraud and conspiracy for using illegal tips to make trades before news about mergers, earnings, forecasts, and spinoffs became public.

Along with the fines from the criminal case, the penalty for the civil case ups the total of monetary sanctions that Rajaratnam has been ordered to pay to over $156.6 million. The SEC’s civil action also permanently enjoins him from violating sections of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Exchange Act Rule 10b-5.

It was in 2009 that the SEC charged Rajaratnam and several others in the insider trading scam. More defendants were named later that year, as well as in 2010. The case against them was part of a wider insider trading probe that has now charged 29 entities and individuals. Securities in over 15 publicly traded companies were involved resulting in more than $90 million in illicit profits or losses avoided.

Last month, the SEC was able to get a final judgment by consent against Galleon Management. The hedge fund is permanently enjoined from violating the federal securities laws’ antifraud provisions. It is also jointly and severally liable for what Rajaratnam has been ordered to pay.

Also in October, the SEC charged Rajat K. Gupta for providing insider trading tips to Rajaratnam. Gupta, who used to be the global head at McKinsey & Co., was on the boards of Procter and Gamble and Goldman Sachs at the time.

Alleged tips included confidential information about P & G and Goldman’s respective quarterly earnings and a $5 million investment that the latter was planning to make in Berkshire Hathaway. These latest charges come now, after the SEC dismissed charges in an earlier administrative proceeding against Gupta for the same alleged misconduct. Gupta also recently pleaded not guilty to insider trading charges, including multiple counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.

The New York Times reports that in the last two years, the US government charged 56 people with insider trading. 51 of these individuals have either been convicted or pleaded guilty.

With Gupta’s Arrest, Insider Inquiry Goes Beyond Wall St., NY Times, October 26, 2011
SEC Brings New Charges against Raj Rajaratnam, SEC, October 26, 2011
More Blog Posts:
Galleon Group LLC Co-Founder Raj Rajaratnam Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison Over Insider Trading Scam, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 13, 2011
Ex-Goldman Sachs Board Member Accused of Insider Trading with Galleon Group Co-Founder Seeks to Have SEC Administrative Case Against Him Dropped, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, April 19, 2011
Ex-Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta Pleads Not Guilty to Insider Trading Charges, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, October 26, 2011
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