India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta won a major reprieve after an appeals court here granted his request to stay out of prison on a $10-million bond while he fights his conviction on insider trading charges.

64-year-old Gupta, who was to begin his two-year prison term on January 8, had filed an appeal in the US Second Circuit Court of Appeals seeking stay of his surrender to prison and to remain free on a $10-million bond while he challenges his conviction.

A two-judge panel ruled in Gupta’s favour at a hearing yesterday, saying “it is hereby ordered that the conditions of release imposed by the district court will be continued.

“Motion is granted,” US Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes said in the ruling, allowing Gupta’s motion to stay his surrender date and remain free on bond.

The court is expected to hear Gupta’s appeal around April next year and it could be a year before his request to overturn his conviction is ruled upon.

The bail conditions imposed by the district court since Gupta’s arrest in October last year include the $10-million bond, surrender of his passports and travel restrictions.

The ruling comes as a major relief for Gupta, who is one of the most high-profile Wall Street executives to be charged with passing confidential boardroom information about Goldman Sachs to his friend and business associate, hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, who prosecutors allege made millions of dollars in profit and avoided huge losses thanks to Gupta’s tips.

Gupta was accompanied by his wife Anita and their four daughters at the hearing. After the decision was announced, Gupta’s wife burst into tears.

(This article was published on December 5, 2012)
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