Two jurors drop out of Gupta insider-trading trial

NEW YORK, Tue May 29, 2012 – Two jurors have dropped out of the insider-trading trial of former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. board member Rajat Gupta, who is charged with giving corporate secrets to imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

Both were excused from the 12-person jury in Manhattan federal court because of family emergencies. The place of Juror No. 12, a professor of strategic design and behavior, was taken on Thursday by one of four alternates, a retired librarian. Juror No. 4, an executive assistant at a hospital, was excused on Tuesday and replaced by another alternate, a marketing manager for a publishing firm.

Gupta, 63, a former global head of management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, is the most prominent corporate figure indicted in the U.S. government’s broad crackdown on insider trading in recent years. He is charged with tipping Rajaratnam between March 2007 and January 2009 while he was a director of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble Co.

Gupta has pleaded not guilty and argues that the prosecution’s evidence is circumstantial.

Galleon Group hedge fund founder Rajaratnam, 53, was convicted a year ago on evidence largely based on court-approved wiretaps of his phones. He is appealing the use of wiretaps as he serves an 11-year prison term, the longest handed down for insider trading in the United States.

Gupta’s trial began last week and is expected to run about three weeks. To convict him of insider trading, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that he breached his fiduciary duties and that he did it intentionally and in anticipation of at least some modest benefit in return.