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Fund chief Rajaratnam sentenced to 11 years for insider trading

NEW YORK — The fallen hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam received the longest prison sentence ever for insider trading on Thursday, capping an aggressive government campaign that has ensnared dozens and may help deter the illegal use of confidential information on Wall Street.

Judge Richard J. Holwell of Federal District Court in Manhattan sentenced Rajaratnam, 54, the former head of the Galleon Group hedge fund, to 11 years in prison. A jury convicted Rajaratnam of securities fraud and conspiracy in May.

“Insider trading is an assault on the free markets,” said Holwell, who also imposed a $10 million fine and ordered Rajaratnam to forfeit $53.8 million in ill-gotten profits. “His crimes reflect a virus in our business culture that needs to be eradicated.”

The sentence was a watershed moment in a two-year push by federal prosecutors. Over that period, Preet S. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, has brought charges against 54 people with insider trading crimes. Of those, 50 have been either pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial. Three others’ situations are pending, and the fourth is a fugitive.

—Peter Lattman, The New York Times

French criminal charges against Strauss-Kahn dropped

PARIS — For the second time this year, Dominique Strauss-Kahn escaped criminal charges of attempted rape, despite what prosecutors here said was evidence of sexual assault, ending months of scandal that have tarnished a political career that once seemed destined to lead to the French presidency.

There was evidence from Strauss-Kahn’s own testimony of sexual assault in a 2003 encounter with a French writer and novelist, Tristane Banon, the prosecutor said in a statement, but given a three-year statute of limitations on that charge, no case would be brought.

“Facts that could be qualified as sexual assault have been acknowledged,” the statement said.

The decision of the prosecutor was no surprise, given the age of the case and the difficulty of finding physical evidence so long after the event.

But once more, as in this summer’s case in New York involving a hotel housekeeper, Strauss-Kahn has escaped a criminal trial on sexual charges. In the New York case, criminal charges of attempted rape were dropped in August because of doubts about the credibility of his accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, who had lied in other instances of sworn testimony.

In some sense, Strauss-Kahn, 62, appears to be lucky. But he has been personally chastened and humiliated in a very public fashion, and his political career has been derailed by the charges.

—Steven Erlanger and Maia De La Baume, The New York Times