It's been an eventful year: Preet Bharara on recent prosecutions

Written by PTI | New York | Updated: Apr 1 2014, 19:50pm hrs
Preet BhararaPreet Bharara's office also filed a re-indictment in March against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges. (reuters)
America's India-born top prosecutor Preet Bharara has said it has been an "eventful" year for him so far, citing recent successful prosecutions including that of former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta and Osama bin Laden's son-in-law.

Bharara said a prosecutor's "bread and butter" and "main mission" is to prosecute individuals who have committed crimes.

No individual or institution should presume they have immunity from prosecution because of their influence or size, he said while addressing a compliance and legal society annual seminar in Florida.

"Without a doubt, it has been an eventful year. Out of my office alone, we have seen...more insider trading convictions at trial, including that of Mathew Martoma; a jury verdict against Bank of America for reckless mortgage lending practices...the indictment and subsequent guilty plea of SAC Capital for engaging in insider trading on a scale without any known precedent.

"In just the last 12 days alone, we...saw the affirmance of Rajat Gupta's insider trading conviction. We also, by the way, convicted Osama bin Laden's son-in-law of terrorism charges but that is perhaps a topic for a different conference," Bharara said at the seminar organised by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA).

Gupta, who had served as the head of consultancy giant McKinsey, lost his bid to throw out his conviction after an appeals court last week upheld the trial court's order that he should be imprisoned for two years for insider trading.

Martoma, another Indian-origin portfolio manager, was the 79th person convicted on charges of insider trading brought by Bharara's office after a federal jury found him guilty in February for his role in the most lucrative insider trading scheme in US history involving USD 275 million.

"That is the bread and butter of what prosecutors do; that is what we do every day we come to work. And it is our main mission," he said adding that "when appropriate" it is also essential to hold erring institutions and not just individuals "accountable for misconduct."

"No one should receive a get-out-of-jail-free card based on size...there should never be a presumption of immunity based on size. That is a dangerous thing," he added.

Bharara's office also filed a re-indictment in March against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges.