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Rajat Gupta challenges $13.9 mn insider trading fine

Rajat Gupta fined
Rajat Gupta

New York, Nov 6 (IANS) India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta has asked a US appeals court to overturn a court’s ruling that he pay a hefty $13.9 million fine in the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s insider trading case.

Arguing that the penalty was excessive in light of an earlier $5 million criminal fine, Gupta’s lawyers Tuesday also asked the appeals court for the Second Circuit here to reverse a life ban on him from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

Gupta’s attorneys argued that the district court “abused” its discretion in imposing the statutory maximum civil penalty on him of $13.9 million, which is triple the benefit hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam had obtained from tips allegedly received from Gupta.

“Instead of protecting the investing public, these injunctions serve only to punish and stigmatise Gupta,” they said.

In fixing the amount of Gupta’s civil penalty, the court failed to consider the deterrent effect of the other penalties it had already imposed even though Gupta himself never traded on the information and made no money from any of the trades, the lawyers said.

Harvard-educated Gupta, found guilty of tipping corporate secrets to jailed billionaire hedge-fund manager Rajaratnam in June 2012, was fined $13.9 million by the top US regulator last July.

In October 2012, Gupta was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay a $5 million criminal fine. He is free on bail pending his appeal of the decision.

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