NEW YORK—Raj Rajaratnam, a billionaire hedge-fund impresario who built his fortune in the relentless cultivation of corporate contacts, was convicted Wednesday on all 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy against him in the biggest insider-trading case ever, likely accelerating an unprecedented wave of prosecutions rocking Wall Street.
The verdict by the 12-member jury, following 12 days of deliberation, capped a blockbuster trial that began in early March and featured 45 wiretaps showing how the founder of Galleon Group trafficked in insider tips provided by a web of contacts at the top tier of American business.
It was the first insider-trading prosecution to use methods that had been mainly reserved for organized-crime, drug and terrorism cases.
Some jurors said the wiretaps of Mr. Rajaratnam were the deciding factor. Carmen Gomez, a 55-year-old educator speaking outside her home in the Bronx, said that “it was a very difficult decision,” but the recordings showed Mr. Rajaratnam used “confidential information” and bought “stocks based on that.”
Mr. Rajaratnam, 53 years old, grew up in Sri Lanka, the son of a sewing-machine company manager. He liked to tell people that his first name meant “king” in Hindi, and, coupled with his last name, that made him “king of kings.” Educated in England and the U.S., he began his Wall Street career as a semiconductor analyst before launching Galleon in 1996. He built it into a $7 billion fund at its peak, ferreting out bits of information from technology executives and others, while pushing his analysts and traders to do the same.
He also developed a reputation for pranks. One April Fool’s Day, employees arrivedat Galleon’s morning meeting to find a dwarf whom Mr. Rajaratnam introduced as an analyst hired to cover “small-cap” stocks.
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