New York: Rajat Gupta, the India-born former managing director of McKinsey, has said that not testifying at his insider trading trial was a ‘bad call’ and he regrets not taking the stand in his defence.
Gupta, 70, has penned his memoir ‘Mind Without Fear’ which released Monday here and tells of his dramatic rise to the top of the corporate and financial world in America and then his fall after being charged in 2012 in one of the largest insider trading cases in the US. He served a 19-month prison term and was released in 2016.
“I always believed that I should testify and I kept telling this to my lawyers. Till the very last weekend (of the trial) I was going to testify,” Gupta told this agency here.
“They (lawyers) kept saying don’’ testify, don’t testify. It was a bad call on my part. I always regret it (not testifying in court),” the former director of Goldman Sachs added while stating that it was a very difficult circumstance for him since he did not know anything about the legal system. “Here were my lawyers, my advisers who are supposed to be in my interest. Right? They kept saying don’t testify,” he further wrote.
Gupta said throughout his life as a consultant, he has given advice to his clients and they listened to him. “The situation was reversed. I was the client. So in the end I succumbed to their arguments. I felt it was a moment of weakness. I feel very badly about it that I didn’t testify,” asserted Gupta.
In 2012, Gupta was found guilty of passing confidential boardroom information to then hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who is currently serving 11 years in prison for insider trading. One such information the prosecutors alleged Gupta shared with Rajaratnam in September 2008 was about Berkshire Hathaway’s five billion dollar investment in Goldman Sachs.
The prosecutors said Gupta participated in the Goldman Sachs board meeting via telephone and then 16 seconds after the Goldman call ended, he called Rajaratnam’s direct office line at the ‘Galleon Group’ hedge fund.
Gupta maintained that he did not pass any inside information to Rajaratnam and said that it was routine for him to make phone calls when he got out of board meetings.
“They (prosecutors) made a big thing about 16 seconds. I make calls after board meetings all the time, within 16 seconds. I get out of the board meeting, I make a call generally. I make call to my secretary saying who do I have to call, what do I have to attend to,” he informed.