Don’t Cry for Raj

The federal court in New York yesterday sentenced billionaire Raj Rajaratnam, founder of Galleon hedge fund, to 11 years in prison for insider trading. The 11-year sentence, while far less than the 24 years and 5 months sought by the prosecution, is the longest ever in an insider trading case in the U.S.  This sentence is well-deserved, a sentiment that may appall my criminal-defense attorney son and former colleagues at the Prisoners’ Rights Project, but it is Rajaratnam’s naked dishonesty and greed, his fundamental corruption, that are appalling.  Arguing for a lesser sentence one of his lawyers cited Rajaratnam’s charitable work, saying  “Raj Rajaratnam has attempted to make the world a better place. If there is a ledger in one’s life, he should have some credit to draw upon in that ledger now that things have gone bad.”

Now that things have gone bad?  This is not an appropriate situation to use the passive voice.  Things did not go bad, like a bottle of milk left too long in the hot sun. Rajaratnam had education and wealth and affirmatively chose to be a criminal.  He earned the shame and crushed reputation that are now his legacy.

3 thoughts on “Don’t Cry for Raj”

  1. The outcome of this is interesting seeing as Obama (my apologies for bringing politics into law, but unfortunately the two are undeniably intertwined) was recently asked after giving his speech on the 9th about the relaxed position on crooked wall street business actions. As per usual of the political and judicial systems, President Obama, gave a non-committal answer saying that the acts done were not technically illegal and the business world is always quick to find the next loophole. Clearly this insider trading was illegal (though only really in the United States and Canada), and yet the punishment of 11 years imprisonment and 10 million dollars hardly seem on par with the crime. After a short time, Raj will likely be given parole, and still have hundreds of millions left in his bank accounts. You would think with a defense attorney that can’t even properly speak the english language, the justice system would function in accordance to due duty. 

  2. Such insider trading cases are not just common in the United States, but in most developed countries too. They do significantly challenge a nation’s regulations on the finance industry. However, it is quite interesting and alarming to see that financial and accounting fraud is seen even in the IT industry. One example could be the Satyam Computers accounting fraud in India. An accounting fraud amounting to $1.5 billion dollars was unearthed in 2009. Along with developed nations, developing nations too prone to such massive financial frauds which desperately call for revising regulations. 

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