Jury selection begins in trial of Rajaratnam's brother

NEW YORK, June 17 Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:50am EDT

NEW YORK, June 17 (Reuters) - Jury selection began on Tuesday in the trial of Rengan Rajaratnam, a former Galleon Group hedge fund manager accused of conspiring with his older brother, Raj Rajaratnam, to engage in insider trading.

U.S. prosecutors say that Rengan Rajaratnam conspired with his brother, the founder of Galleon, to trade on inside information about technology companies Clearwire Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc in 2008.

Prosecutors say a tip about Clearwire obtained by Raj Rajaratnam and passed along to his younger brother enabled Rengan Rajaratnam to earn $100,000 personally and Galleon to reap $700,000.

Rengan Rajaratnam, 43, has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer, Daniel Gitner, has argued that the government lacks evidence that his client knew any inside information was disclosed for a personal benefit.

Dressed in a dark gray suit, Rengan Rajaratnam could be seen in the courtroom on Tuesday talking with Julie Blackman, a jury consultant known for advising white-collar defendants.

Past clients of Blackman have included SAC Capital Advisors portfolio manager Michael Steinberg, Goldman Sachs Group Inc board member Rajat Gupta, and Goldman Sachs vice president Fabrice Tourre.

Jury selection in the trial comes a day after the U.S. Supreme Court left intact the insider trading conviction of Raj Rajaratnam, 57, who is serving an 11-year prison term. A federal jury convicted him in May 2011 of nine counts of securities fraud and five counts of conspiracy.

The case is U.S. v. Rajaratnam, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 13-00211. (Editing by Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)