September 9, 2019 (LBO) – Former hedge fund titan and billionaire Raj Rajaratnam has been released from prison early after being incarcerated for almost 8 years. He was released approximately 2-3 years early due to a new law passed in the United States which proffers leniency to those who are over 60 years of age and have served 75% of their prison sentences. Rajaratnam (62) will serve the remainder of his prison sentence at home, with some privileges to work outside of the household.
Raj Rajaratnam was the central figure in an insider trading investigation that generated a media frenzy in the United States. Instead of taking a plea bargain, Rajaratnam mounted a vigorous legal defence. He was represented by lawyer John Dowd, the same counsel who later represented President Donald Trump during the Muller investigation. Raj Rajaratnam’s 11-year sentence was the longest sentence ever for insider trading in the United States. Many critics of the sentencing have claimed that it was harsh, and that the sentencing of Rajaratnam was unfairly used to send a signal to the rest of wall street and the hedge fund industry.
Rajaratnam was once a large investor in the Sri Lankan stock market. At one time he owned approximately 10% of John Keells Holdings (JKH) in addition to several investments in other listed companies. He maintained relationships with many leading corporate figures in Sri Lanka, and was becoming more engaged in the country before his legal troubles started.
After the start of his legal troubles, his hedge fund firm the Galleon Group was successfully wound down and all funds plus profits successfully returned to investors. The billionaire was a supporter of many philanthropic causes including millions of dollars to Sri Lankan initiatives.
Raj Rajaratnam was born in Colombo and was a past pupil of St. Thomas’ Preparatory School. His father, J. M. Rajaratnam was a former Chairman of the Singer group in Sri Lanka.