Rajat Gupta's fate to be sealed today

Rajat Gupta's fate to be sealed today New York: Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta will be sentenced here on Wednesday by a US judge here on insider trading charges a year after the Indian-American Wall Street executive was charged with passing boardroom secrets to the now imprisoned hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam.

The Prosecution has sought a prison term of 8-10 years for the 63-year-old Gupta who was convicted by a jury in June this year in a closely followed trial on three counts of securities fraud and one count of conspiracy.

His sentencing by US District Judge Jed Rakoff comes exactly a year after Manhattan's top federal attorney India-born Preet Bharara filed insider trading charges against the former McKinsey head.

Gupta, the most high profile Wall Street executive to be convicted in the government's crackdown on insider trading, is seeking leniency from the judge, citing his otherwise unblemished career and philanthropic works.

In a memorandum filed in federal court last week, Gupta's lawyer Gary Naftalis sought probation for his Harvard educated client, saying Gupta is willing to live in Rwanda and work with the local government on health care and agricultural initiatives.

Bharara is seeking a prison term of 8-10 years for Gupta, arguing that his "shocking" crimes were not an "isolated occurrence or a momentary lapse in judgement and a "significant term of imprisonment is necessary to reflect the seriousness of Gupta's crimes and to deter other corporate insiders in similar positions of trust from stealing corporate secrets and engaging in a crime that has become far too common".

Gupta has also been getting support from family members, prominent business leaders and global philanthropic figures including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who are among the 400 people who have written letters to Rakoff detailing Gupta's charitable work.

"I know most personally that the poor of the world have a profoundly capable and articulate advocate in Rajat Gupta," Gates said in his letter.

The Microsoft founder had worked with Gupta when the Goldman executive had served as chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Gates said while he was "not in a position to comment on any of the particulars of the case against him," he wanted to lend his voice "to round out Rajat's profile as you consider the appropriate sentence for him".

"Many millions of people are leading better lives - or are alive at all - thanks to the efforts he so ably supported," Gates said in his letter.

Annan said Gupta has worked on many projects with him, including one on management reform at the UN in which Gupta was an adviser.

"I came to respect his judgment, and we became good friends," Annan said in his letter.

"I urge you to recognize Rajat for the good he has done in the world, to give him the credit that he deserves for helping others and to take into account his efforts to improve the lives of millions of people," the former UN Chief said.

Gupta faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years on securities fraud and conspiracy.

While it is unlikely that the judge will hand him the maximum sentence, the letters of support intend to show the good work done by Gupta and request leniency from the judge when he determines Gupta's jail time.

Gupta had pleaded not guilty to the charges and argued during his trial that he personally did not trade nor made any profits from the insider information he was accused of passing on to Rajaratnam, who is currently serving an 11 year prison term after being convicted last year.

PTI