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Rajat Gupta: Bigger Than Madoff?
CNBC.com | March 01, 2011 | 05:00 PM EST

Rajat Gupta may be the most important businessman ever charged with a serious violation of securities laws.

The standard defendants in insider trading cases are low-level employees of corporations or Wall Street firms. Only very occasionally does anyone who has risen to the height of a Raj Rajaratnam—the founder of Galleon, and alleged co-conspirator of Gupta—get charged with serious violations.

The only people who even comes close to the stature of Gupta are Michael Milken and Bernard Madoff. But despite the vast wealth people had given to Madoff to manage, he was never a member of the inner circle of corporate power in America.

Gupta is one of the most connected people in corporate America that you've never heard of, as Duff McDonald showed in his October 2010 Fortune magazine profile . Gupta spent 34 years at McKinsey, arguably the most important corporate consulting company in the world. In 1994, he was elected head of McKinsey, a position he held for nine years.

Under his tenure, McKinsey grew into a truly global powerhouse, opening at least 20 offices overseas and more than doubling the number of consultants employed, McDonald writes.

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