NEW YORK, October 13, 2011 (AFP) – Disgraced star Wall Street hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced Thursday to 11 years behind bars in the heaviest US sentence for insider trading, although far below what prosecutors had sought.
New York federal Judge Richard Holwell also ordered the Sri Lankan-born founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund to pay a fine of $10 million and restitution of $53.8 million.
But he said Rajaratnam’s poor health was the reason for refusing the prosecution’s request that the former trader be sentenced to as much as 24 years in prison.
Holwell revealed for the first time publicly that Rajaratnam, 54, is suffering from “advanced diabetes leading to imminent kidney failure.”
The judge added he was taking into account the fallen Wall Street trader’s philanthropy, saying Rajaratnam’s “response to and care for the less privileged go considerably beyond the norm.”
The judge also insisted that while “insider trading is insidious” it “poses a different danger to Enron-like fraud” or the kind of pyramid scheme run by Wall Street conman Bernard Madoff, robbing thousands of people of their savings.
Rajaratnam will remain free until November 28, when he must surrender himself.