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Charges Against Gupta Are Blow to Investors: Hedge Fund CEO

Rajat Gupta
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images
Rajat Gupta

The Securities and Exchange Commission's charges against ex-Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta on insider trading in connection with Raj Rajaratnam and the Galleon Fund case is yet another blow to investor confidence, Matthew Halbower, CEO and chief investment officer of hedge fund Pentwater Capital Management, told CNBC Tuesday.

“When the complaints were filed in the Galleon case, it was a very hot topic, because everyone wanted to know what your compliance is like,” said Halblower, whose firm specializes in special situations and event-driven investing. His hedge fund has an annualized return of nearly 13 percent.

“It still is, and it’s a question that is raised in nearly every investor meeting that we have.”

The SEC accused Gupta Tuesday of illegally disclosing information about quarterly earnings at Goldman and Procter & Gamble , where he had also been a director.

It also said that Gupta, a longtime executive at consultant McKinsey & Co., tipped Rajaratnam in September 2008 about a pending $5 billion investment by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway .

Rajaratnam's criminal insider trading trial is scheduled to begin on March 8. He also faces SEC civil charges. Rajaratnam has denied wrongdoing.

“What the [SEC] allegations suggest here are totally inconsistent with anything that we’ve seen in how a fund should be managed,” added Halblower. “There should be appropriate compliance.

“Clearly, investors are going to be concerned when they hear about compliance that they expect [to happen] to be totally disregarded.”

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