NEW YORK — Rajat K. Gupta, the retired head of the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. and a former Goldman Sachs board member, was found guilty Friday of conspiracy and securities fraud. He is the most prominent business executive convicted in a wave of prosecutions that followed the government’s sweeping investigation into insider trading on Wall Street.
After a monthlong trial in US District Court in Manhattan, a jury took only two days to deliberate before reaching a verdict. It found Gupta guilty of leaking confidential information about Goldman to his former friend and business associate, fallen hedge-fund titan Raj Rajaratnam, on three occasions in 2008. He was also convicted of conspiring in an insider-trading scheme with Rajaratnam.
Gupta was found not guilty of two instances of tipping Rajaratnam, including an allegation that he divulged secret news about Procter & Gamble, where he also served on the board.
Gary P. Naftalis, a lawyer for Gupta, said his client would likely appeal the verdict.
“We believe the facts of this demonstrate that Mr. Gupta is innocent, and we continue to believe he is innocent of all the charges,” Naftalis said.
Jed S. Rakoff, the judge in the case, said he was inclined to set Gupta free on bail until his sentencing Oct. 18.
Gupta faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison but will probably serve less time.
The outcome in Gupta’s trial was a substantial victory for the government. There had been a big question mark about whether prosecutors could win a case built largely on circumstantial evidence — phone records and trading logs — of the defendant’s guilt. No witness testified to the contents of any calls between Gupta and Rajaratnam.
The jury appeared to reject one of Gupta’s central defenses: that it was inconceivable a person of Gupta’s station would risk destroying his career by passing along a handful of boardroom secrets.
In interviews afterward, two jurors spoke about their struggles to reconcile the evidence with Gupta’s distinguished career.
“Here’s a man who came to this country and was a wonderful example of the American dream,” said the jury’s foreman, Rich Lepkowski, an executive for a nonprofit organization. “We wanted to believe that the allegations weren’t true, but at the end of the day the evidence was just overwhelming.”