Pushed Back

NEW YORK, September 21, 2011 (AFP) – Sentencing of Raj Rajaratnam, the hedge fund magnate convicted in the biggest Wall Street insider trading case in years, has been postponed until October. A court order Wednesday by New York federal Judge Richard Holwell moved sentencing day from September 27 to October 13. No reason was given.

Sri Lankan-born Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, was found guilty on 14 counts of conspiracy and securities fraud in May. An initial sentencing date of July 29 had already been postponed until the end of the summer while Rajaratnam, 54, remained under house arrest.

Prosecutors have asked for a hefty sentence of as much as 24 years.

The trial, which ended after 12 days of jury deliberations, was seen as a landmark assault by the Justice Department on Wall Street corruption. Unusually for a white collar probe, prosecutors made heavy use of wiretaps to record phone conversations at Galleon. Insider trading is generally considered difficult to prove and Rajaratnam’s lawyers had argued that he was simply pursuing the kind of deep research that was required of him, rather than seeking illegal tips.

In seeking a lighter sentence lawy