NEW YORK: A federal appeals court here has denied a petition by India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, currently serving a two-year prison term in the U.S, to rehear his insider trading conviction. A full panel of the 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday denied Gupta's petition for "panel rehearing, or, in the alternative, for rehearing en banc".
"The panel that determined the appeal has considered the request for panel rehearing, and the active members of the Court have considered the request for rehearing en banc. It is ordered that the petition is denied," the order said. The denial is a blow to the efforts by Gupta to have his conviction overturned and his insider trading case reheard.
65-year-old Gupta reported to the minimum security satellite camp at FMC Devens in Ayer, Massachusetts on June 17 to begin his two-year prison sentence. His prison is next to the medical centre where his one- time friend and business associate hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam is serving his 11-year prison sentence for running the massive insider trading scam.
Gupta's petition for rehearing was pending before the appeals court when he reported to prison last month. He had said last month in court papers that he will seek review by a higher court if his rehearing petition is denied by the appeals court.
Gupta had been fighting with all his might to reverse his insider trading conviction and avoid going to jail. He began his prison sentence after fighting a protracted legal battle to clear his name in one of the biggest insider trading schemes in U.S history.
Apart from the two-year prison term, Gupta has been ordered to pay $five million in fine and a separate $6 million in restitution to Goldman Sachs. He also has been ordered to pay $13.9 million as penalty in the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission's parallel insider trading case against him.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court had in March upheld Gupta's conviction by a district judge on insider trading charges and had denied his bid for a new trial. In April, Gupta had filed a combined petition for rehearing and rehearing en banc, requesting that he be allowed to remain free on bail till his petition is decided on by a full bench of the appeals court.
Gupta had argued that his insider trading case should be reheard by the entire appeals court bench since "critical evidence" in his favour was excluded at ftrial. The Harvard-educated Gupta is one of the most high-profile Wall Street executives to be convicted of insider trading, charges that were brought against him by Manhattan's India-born top federal prosecutor Preet Bharara.