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Stock inside trader Rajaratnam appeals against jail sentence

Galleon Group founder does not want 25 years in prison

The convicted fraudster behind the Galleon insider trading scandal, which affected the shares of major technology companies including AMD and IBM, has said he could end up fighting a potential "death sentence" in jail.

Raj Rajaratnam, 54, the founder of Galleon Group, should receive a sentence that is "substantially" lower than the US government's recommendation of about 25 years in prison, his lawyers say.

Rajaratnam is said to be in ill-health, and his lawyers claim the "death sentence" he currently faces will mean he will die in prison, although they have not publicly disclosed the "constellation of ailments esses ravaging his body".

Galleon's illegal trades, which involved over 25 others who admitted their guilt, included insider trades in IBM, Intel, AMD and 3Com stock. Rajaratnam had fought the charges brought against him but he was convicted in May.

Prosecutors described Rajaratnam's conduct as "brazen, arrogant, harmful and pervasive" which involved illegal stock gains worth an estimated $63.8 million. They said he should receive a sentence similar to that of former WorldCom chief executive Bernie Ebbers, who got 25 years for accountancy fraud.

US justice usually considers the value of white collar crime when considering a sentence. Rajaratnam's lawyers say the government's calculated $63.8 million 'swag bag' is "speculative and unreasonable".

It should be a more modest $36.3m, say his lawyers. Rajaratnam is set to be sentenced on 27 September.

Former beauty queen and hedge fund trader Danielle Chiesi agreed to pay $540,000 (£335,000) to settle civil charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning insider trading as part of the Galleon scandal.

Despite becoming a witness for the prosecution against Rajaratnam in the criminal trial, she was recently jailed for two and a half yeats for her part in the scam.


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