A wealthy Manhattan hedge fund manager and another executive embroiled in a massive insider trading case were indicted Tuesday on multiple counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.
Billionaire Raj Rajaratnam had been arrested in October on a criminal complaint alleging he used inside information to make trades that generated millions of dollars in profits for a fund in his firm, the Galleon Group. There was no immediate response to a telephone message left Tuesday with his attorney.
The second person indicted in the $52 million insider trading case was Danielle Chiesi, a portfolio manager at New Castle Funds LLC. Defense attorney Alan Kaufman said his client would "vigorously fight the case in court."
Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam and Chiesi, both free on bond, were to be arraigned Monday in federal court in Manhattan. The pair are among 21 Wall Street professionals charged in the case. Six have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government.
Previously filed criminal complaints had accused Rajaratnam, Chiesi and other defendants of cashing in on tips about the earnings and acquisition plans of Google Inc., Hilton Hotels Corp. and various other companies. The papers showed that an unidentified informant helped record conversations between the defendants.
In one, Chiesi, 44, was heard telling Rajaratnam, 52, that she was "glad that we talk on a secure line, I appreciate that," to which Rajaratnam replied: "I never call you on my cell phone," the complaint said. It added that Chiesi said she was "nervous" about being investigated.
In another about a pending deal, Chiesi is quoted as saying: "I'm dead if this leaks. I really am. ... and my career is over. I'll be like Martha (expletive) Stewart."
Stewart, the homemaking maven, was convicted in 2004 of lying to the government about the sale of her shares in a friend's company whose stock plummeted after a negative public announcement. She served five months in prison and five months of home confinement.
If convicted, Rajaratnam and Chiesi each face up to 20 years in prison.