A former board member of Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble pleaded not guilty this afternoon to federal charges accusing him of acting as "the illegal eyes and ears in the boardroom" for a friend. The friend, of course, is billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who was sentenced this month to 11 years in prison in the biggest insider trading case in history. The indictment alleges Gupta shared confidential information about both Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble at the height of the financial crisis, knowing that Rajaratnam would use the secrets to buy and sell stock ahead of public announcements.
Gupta, 62, quietly surrendered early in the day at the FBI's New York City office, a few blocks north of the ongoing Occupy Wall Street demonstration against what protesters call a culture of corporate greed. He later pleaded not guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and five counts of securities fraud, charges that carry a potential penalty of 105 years in prison. He was freed on $10 million bail, and conditions require him to remain in the continental US. An April 9 trial date was set.