Judge feared Gupta would flee, didn’t trust him to come back.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A US court denied former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta’s request to travel to India last month, from late February to early March, saying that such a trip would present too tempting an opportunity for Gupta to flee the US for his home country.
Gupta, 65, was in the midst of his appeals litigation, which was officially dismissed on Tuesday, when he sought permission to visit India from February 27 to March 10 for his nephew’s wedding. Citing his “immense ties” to India, US District Judge Jed Rakoff said that Gupta posed too serious a flight risk to allow him to visit the subcontinent.
“India would be the ideal place for [Gupta] to flee [to],” said Rakoff. “He has immense ties to that country and more than significant assets with which to maintain a comfortable life there. If his application were granted [to allow travel to India], he could enter India lawfully with excellent opportunities to delay extradition for years or avoid it altogether.”
Gupta offered to sign a “waiver of extradition,” which would have forced the Indian government to turn him over at a moment’s notice if the US wanted them to, but even that was turned down by the courts. Rakoff said he and the court were “sympathetic” to Gupta’s desire to attend his nephew’s wedding, but simply couldn’t trust him to do so.
Rakoff said that Gupta had special motivation to flee justice at that time, more than ever before, because the conclusion of his appeals process was so near, meaning that he knew there was a very strong chance he would be in prison within a matter of a few weeks.
“[The] motivation to flee is inherently strong at this juncture,” said Rakoff.
With Gupta’s appeal now rejected, he will have to serve the sentence handed down to him last year, which consists of two years imprisonment and an additional year of supervised release afterwards. Gupta was convicted on charges of insider trading and securities fraud, allegations he has denied since they first came up.