New York: Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam’s defence team today said the Sri Lankan-born billionaire made his profits on information that was already in the public domain and not insider tips, a claim countered by a key government witness.
Defence lawyer 69-year-old John Dowd showed Anil Kumar, a key government witness in the largest insider trading case to hit US courts in decades, a series of news articles to show that inside information which was allegedly passed to Rajaratnam was already available in the media.
Dowd said that Kumar’s tips about the ATI-AMD deal were already in the media.
Kumar countered that the press reports were “speculative” and said he delivered “more accurate facts than a journalist would”, the Telegraph reported.
Kumar, a former McKinsey director, has already pleaded guilty to providing insider tips to Rajaratnam between 2003 and 2009 in exchange for more than $2 million.
On Monday, Kumar told the jury that in 2005-2006 he was telling Rajaratnam about acquisition of ATI Technologies Inc., a graphic design company, by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. , a microchip-processing company.
The deal allegedly earned Rajaratnam $20 billion.
After the deal went through, Kumar said Rajaratnam told him, “You’re a star ... you’re a hero.,” and later paid him $1 million.
The central question of the case is whether the 53-year-old Rajaratnam earned $45 million by using leaked confidential information.
Rajaratnam, who is charged with 14 counts of security fraud and conspiracy, could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
While 19 people have pleaded guilty, the main accused denies any wrongdoing.
Rajaratnam and Kumar, 52, were classmates at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
The New York Times reported that during the proceedings it emerged from Kumar that in 2007, Rajaratnam became very sick and asked him to join Galleon.
NYT also reported that juror no. 18 dozed off in the middle of the proceedings.
Juror No. 18, a 35-year-old unemployed Manhattan resident with a bachelor’s degree in English, who sports a scruffy beard, reportedly woke up when journalists sitting near by started giggling.