News / archive

    Jury Begins Deliberations in US Insider Trading Case

    Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. board member Rajat Gupta, right, and lawyer Gary Naftalis arrive at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, June 14, 2012.
    Former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. board member Rajat Gupta, right, and lawyer Gary Naftalis arrive at Manhattan Federal Court in New York, June 14, 2012.
    Larry Freund
    NEW YORK - A jury in New York began deliberations Thursday in the insider trading case against Rajat Gupta, a former director of the Goldman Sachs investment banking firm and former head of McKinsey and Company, a  global consulting firm.

    Federal prosecutors say Gupta telephoned a friend and investment partner, Raj Rajaratnam, with information from a Goldman Sachs board meeting that investor Warren Buffett was going to invest $5 billion in the investment bank. That information had not yet reached the public. According to the prosecutors, Rajaratnam bought thousands of shares in Goldman Sachs, then sold them the next day when the news became public, earning a $1 million profit.

    The jury of eight women and four men is considering six criminal charges against Gupta, including securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. Gupta says he is innocent of all the charges.

    Gupta’s attorney, in his closing argument to the jury, called the government’s evidence against his client guesswork and speculation. That evidence includes seven wire-tapped telephone conversations and 10 e-mails.

    Judge Jed Rakoff, in his instructions to the jury, said the government must prove each charge beyond a reasonable doubt and that the law presumes a defendant innocent until proven guilty. While Gupta did not testify during the three-week trial, the judge reminded the jury that a defendant is never required to prove that he or she is innocent.

    Supporters of Gupta argue that the evidence against him is circumstantial rather than direct. Judge Rakoff, in his jury instructions, said the law makes no distinction between the two. Attorney Lawrence Goldman, past president of the National Association of Criminal defense Lawyers, says circumstantial evidence can be overwhelming.

    ”This hits me as a strong circumstantial case," he said. "Very often, the circumstantial case is better than the direct case. The facts here seem to me, those facts are relatively incontrovertible. Yes, there was a board meeting at which this matter was discussed; yes, there was a telephone call from Gupta to Rajaratnam; yes, there was a trade.”

    Attorney Goldman, not associated with this trial, says that in the past, there was what he calls a lax attitude in the United States toward insider trading - that is, buying and selling stocks based on information not available to the public. However, Federal prosecutors in New York have set their sights on insider trading and, a year ago, succeeded with the conviction of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam on securities fraud charges. He is serving an 11-year prison term. Attorney Goldman says the prosecutors have done a very good job.

    “But it probably is the tip of the iceberg," said Goldman. "All the criminal law can do at its best is warn people, punish people sometimes and tell people, you shouldn’t do it because you are taking a risk. And I think that’s been done.”

    Rajat Gupta, 63 years old and born in India, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora