Reporting from Los Angeles and New York - Federal authorities shook the often secretive world of hedge funds with the arrests Friday of the billionaire founder of a major New York operation and five others on charges they engaged in extensive insider trading that allegedly netted more than $20 million in illicit profits.
After taking the unusual step of using wiretaps in the investigation, authorities accused Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the $7-billion hedge fund Galleon Group, two executives at California companies and three others of multiple counts of conspiracy and securities fraud.
It's the biggest criminal case involving hedge fund insider trading, said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for Manhattan, and is believed to be the first time that court-authorized wiretaps have been used in insider-trading cases.
"This aggressive use of wiretaps is important. It shows that we are targeting white-collar insider trading rings with the same powerful investigative tools that have worked so successfully against the mob and drug cartels," Bharara said.