Colin Barr

Following the money in banking, economics, and Washington

Prosecutors say Raj did it: update

April 20, 2011: 12:26 PM ET

Believe it or not, Raj Rajaratnam isn't one of the good guys.

So say prosecutors summing up the case for a conviction in the Galleon hedge fund insider trading trial, reports Fortune's Nin-Hai Tseng. She is at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, where prosecutors made closing arguments this morning and the defense is scheduled to make its case this afternoon.

One of the innocent till proven guilty guys

Assistant U.S. attorney Reed Brodsky told jurors Wednesday that Rajaratnam, the 53-year-old hedge fund manager*, "corrupted friends and employers to get information," and then devised hare-brained plans to "cover his tracks."

For years, Brodsky alleged, Rajaratnam raked in millions of dollars via "schemes that helped keep Galleon successful at the expense of the law and every ordinary investor." Prosecutors say he walked off with $64 million in ill-gotten gains via trades in tech giants as well as Goldman Sachs (GS) and Procter & Gamble (PG).

Brodsky played tapes of Rajaratnam, who faces up to 25 years in jail on 14 counts including insider trading, allegedly conspiring with former McKinsey & Co. bigwig Anil Kumar to illicitly profit on plans by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) to buy a rival chipmaker.

The tapes, Brodsky said, "were devastating evidence of crime in real time."

The defense, which is scheduled to present its arguments this afternoon, is going to disagree. It will say Rajaratnam was just an avid consumer of information who happened to make a lot of profitable trades right after getting off the phone with people who happened to be on corporate boards.

Update: Elaborating on this thesis, Rajaratnam defense attorney John Dowd has this to say to the jury Wednesday afternoon.

The government's case is based on "the fictional idea information can't become public without a press release," Dowd said. "In the real world information comes out whether the company likes it or not."

Of course, it never hurts a trader to have board members calling  the moment they get out of meetings at which confidential information is discussed. Everyone wants an edge, right? Tomorrow, with any luck, Dowd will address how that whole arrangement fits into what he deems the real world.

*Correction: Earlier I inexplicably asserted Rajaratnam was a former McKinsey bigwig. My apologies for the error.

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About This Author
Colin Barr
Colin Barr
Senior Writer, Fortune

Colin Barr has covered finance for Fortune.com since November 2007. Previously he was a writer and editor for TheStreet.com, winning a 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers award for "The Five Dumbest Things on Wall Street," and for Dow Jones Newswires. He is a 1991 graduate of Penn State and lives in Port Washington, N.Y., with his wife Meena Bose and their two kids.

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