India-born former Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta, convicted of insider trading, has been ordered to pay a hefty USD 13.9 million civil penalty and permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company for spilling boardroom secrets.
The order issued by Judge Jed S Rakoff of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, imposed the penalty on Gupta on Wednesday in connection with the biggest insider trading case in the US history.
64-year-old Gupta is appealing his June, 2012, conviction in a parallel case, in which he was handed down a two-year prison term and fined USD five million.
His attorney was not immediately available for comment regarding the civil penalty imposed yesterday.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday obtained the USD 13.9 million penalty against Gupta for illegally tipping corporate secrets to his friend and former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.
Gupta also is permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company, the US regulator said.
The SEC previously obtained a record USD 92.8 million penalty against Rajaratnam for prior insider trading charges.
“The sanctions imposed today send a clear message to board members who are entrusted with protecting the confidences of the companies they serve,” said George S Canellos, Co-Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.
“If you abuse your position by sharing confidential company information with friends and business associates in exchange for private gain, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent by the SEC,” Canellos said.
In its complaint filed in late 2011, the SEC alleged that Gupta disclosed confidential information to Rajaratnam about Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s USD 5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs as well as non-public details about Goldman Sachs’ financial results for the second and fourth quarters of 2008.
In addition to imposing the financial penalty, the order enjoins Gupta from future violations of the securities laws, permanently bars him from acting as an officer or director of a public company and from associating with any broker, dealer, or investment adviser.
In the parallel criminal case arising out of the same facts, the SEC provided significant assistance to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in its successful criminal prosecution of Gupta, who was found guilty on June 15, 2012, of one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and three counts of securities fraud.
Following the jury verdict, Gupta was sentenced on October 24, 2012, to a term of imprisonment of two years followed by one year of supervised release, and ordered to pay a USD 5 million criminal fine.
On December 26, 2012, the SEC obtained a final judgement ordering Rajaratnam to disgorge his share of the profits gained and losses avoided as a result of the insider trading based on Gupta’s tips, plus prejudgement interest.
Rajaratnam was sentenced to 11 years for charges related to insider trading in October 11, the longest-ever term imposed in such a case.