NEW YORK: Prosecutors played a series of FBI wiretapped phone conversations in a bid to show that Goldman Sachs' former Indian-American director Rajat Gupta shared confidential information with convicted hedge-fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam.

Gupta wasn't a participant on any of the calls played for the jury Thursday at his trial for insider-trading at Manhattan federal court.

Instead, Sri Lankan American Rajaratnam is heard bragging to others at Galleon Group, the hedge-fund firm he co-founded, about tips he allegedly received about Goldman. These included one in which he directly referenced getting information from a board member.

Rajaratnam was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in an insider-trading trial last year.

Prosecutors are presenting the calls as the most important pieces of evidence that Gupta shared confidential information he learned as a member of Goldman's board with Rajaratnam.

On a Sep 24, 2008, call, Rajaratnam can be heard telling trader Ian Horowitz "I got a call at 3:58, right? Saying something good might happen to Goldman." Prosecutors say the tip was about a USD 5-billion investment in Goldman by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

In another call on Oct 24, 2008, Rajaratnam tells Galleon portfolio manager David Lau that he heard from "Somebody on the board of Goldman that they're going to lose USD 2 a share, the market has them making USD 2.50" and "I'm going to whack it.

"Federal prosecutors say the person to whom Rajaratnam was referring on both of those calls is Gupta, who was on the boards of Goldman and Procter & Gamble at the time.On cross- examination, defence lawyers suggested that Rajaratnam was referring to Goldman Sachs' plan to issue additional shares which became public the night before the wiretapped call when he said "something good" was going to happen to the bank.Earlier, prosecutors sought to establish a close relationship between Gupta and Rajaratnam by showing jurors e- mails from Gupta to associates.In one, he calls Rajaratnam "one of the most outstanding hedge fund managers" and "a very close friend."



Latest News from World News Desk