NEW YORK (Reuters) - Raj Rajaratnam, a self-made hedge fund tycoon convicted in the biggest Wall Street trading scandal in a generation, was ordered on Thursday to serve 11 years in prison, one of the longest sentences on record in an insider-trading case but less than prosecutors had sought.
Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in Manhattan to impose a sentence of at least 19-1/2 years on the Galleon Group founder, the central figure in a sweeping criminal case that touched some of America's top companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Intel Corp, IBM and the elite McKinsey & Co consultancy.
Defense lawyers had argued that Rajaratnam deserved a much shorter prison term, citing unspecified health problems and arguing that the government was pushing for a punishment more appropriate to a violent criminal.
Prosecutors have called Rajaratnam, 54, the "modern face" of insider trading, putting him in a dubious pantheon of Wall Street power players such as takeover specialist Ivan Boesky and junk bond financier Michael Milken, principal figures in a mid-1980s insider-trading case. Both men served about two years in prison.