Business, Finance & Economics

Raj Rajaratnam gets 11 years in prison


Raj Rajaratnam arrives at court in New York on Oct. 13, 2011, to hear his sentence. The former head of the Galleon Group hedge fund was convicted on securities fraud charges in May.



Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund billionaire convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy in May, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

It’s the longest prison term for insider trading in history, the Washington Post reports.

Judge Richard J. Holwell also slapped Rajaratnam, the former head of the Galleon Group hedge fund, with a $10 million fine and ordered him to forfeit $53.8 million, the New York Times reports.

“Insider trading is an assault on the free markets,” Holwell said, according to the New York Times. “His crimes reflect a virus in our business culture that needs to be eradicated.”

According to Reuters:

Thursday's sentencing caps a prosecution, marked by secret wiretaps of Rajaratnam and his associates, that shocked the investment world. The Sri Lanka-born fund manager once stood atop a $7 billion New York hedge fund, but was found guilty of running a network of informants who supplied him with corporate secrets.

More from GlobalPost: Fall of the Raj: Galleon billionaire convicted

Federal prosecutors had wanted to lock Rajaratnam away for as long as 24-and-a-half years, so the sentence was lighter than they sought. The Justice Department had argued that a longer sentence was “just and fair punishment for perhaps the worst insider trading offender (who has been caught to date) in history,” the Washington Post reports.

However, Holwell said he chose a lower sentence for Rajaratnam because he had given a significant amount of money to charity, and also because he is in failing health, with advanced diabetes and a possible kidney transplant in his future, the Washington Post reports. Prison “is a more intense experience for people with serious health conditions,” Holwell said, according to the New York Times.

Holwell has recommended that Rajaratnam be sent to a prison in Butner, N.C., that houses an even more infamous financial criminal, Reuters reports – Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, who is serving a life term.