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Prosecutor Links Rajat Gupta To Raj Rajaratnam

May 22, 2012
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Prosecutors lay out their case against a Wall Street giant.

Rajat Gupta is at the top of NPR's business. He's a former head of a consulting firm, a Goldman Sachs board member, and someone whose private phone calls were caught on tape as he chatted with a man later convicted of insider trading.

Now, Gupta's trial has begun. A prosecutor told the jury yesterday that Gupta broke the law when he gave inside information to that billionaire hedge fund executive.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Prosecutor Reed Brodsky said Gupta had thrown away his duties and responsibilities and broken the law. He said Gupta did so when he passed on information to billionaire hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, with whom he had an investment relationship.

Among other things Gupta told Rajaratnam that Goldman Sachs was about to receive a $5 billion investment from Warren Buffett. Gupta also told Rajaratnam in a phone call that the company was thinking of buying a commercial bank. Brodsky said it was a clear window into how these two men spoke to each other and helped each other out. And the prosecutor said Rajaratnam used the money to invest.

Rajaratnam was convicted last year of insider trading and is now in federal prison. Gupta is the former chief executive of McKinsey and Company and by far the biggest name to be charged in the government's insider trading investigation.

Gupta's lawyer told the jury that the case against his client was based on guesswork and speculation. He said they took a series of innocent, unconnected acts and put them together and put a bad spin on otherwise innocent facts. The trial is expected to last for three to four weeks.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.