Raj Rajaratnam fraud case takes more turns

It looks like it’s a case of back to the start for the Raj Rajaratnam vs the US insider trading case, after a new juror had to join.

The juror had to be bought in after another was forced to drop out following a medical problem.  Although the newbie had been watching the proceedings in the trial, prosecutors are now having to go backwards while the jury begins fresh deliberations.

It was also confirmed that  prosecutors had renewed a request to give jurors transcripts of wiretap recordings, which had been instrumental to the case in attempting to prove that the Galleon hedge fund founder was guilty of 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy.

The new move is just another twist in the case, which has been turning for six weeks now, and follows requests  from the  jurors who asked for replays of several recordings as they did not have the transcripts to reference.

So far prosecutors in New York have had Rajaratnam under the spotlight, claiming that the hedge fund manager was embroiled in paying company insiders for tips which allowed him to make sure-fire investments.

Companies caught up in the rift include AMD, Intel and ATI, who all claim that  the mogul made around $22 million and avoided losses of $63.8 million as a result of information ahead of deals.

However, the trader’s lawyers dispute that he did nothing wrong and maintain that the information was publicly available.

So far his lawyers have undertaken steps to prove their client’s innocence. Last month they scrutinised papers from an internal Galleon analyst – who reportedly predicted that ATI was going to sell its stock months before anything happened.

To prove that the information was already in the media – something Rajaratnam has been saying all along – they also showed a range of news stories which speculated the AMD and ATI merger.

However, as the case has gone on, more and more witnesses have taken the stand against the hot shot. Most notably is ex-Intel employee Rajiv Goel, which among other things, told the jury that he gave Rajartnam information about the company.

At the time, the case took a turn when US prosecutors played the first wiretaps of phone conversations between the New York hedge fund and Goel.

Wiretap evidence is a central feature of the case, but the judge previously denied prosecutors’ request to provide jurors with transcripts after the defence argued that the recordings, not the written documents, qualified as evidence.

However, it’s all changed now and it won’t please Mr Rajartnam’s set. Just in case this shake up wasn’t enough, there has been more additions in the case which rather resembles a helter skelter.

Last week jurors deciding the fate of Rajaratnam failed to reach a verdict after a week of deliberations, while there were more rumours that despite facing a long time in the clink, the Galleon founder had emergency foot surgery while he waited for the jury to return.

It seems as though the whole sorry saga is back to square naught.