NEW YORK (Reuters) - Galleon Group founder Raja Rajaratnam, accused in the biggest ever U.S. criminal prosecution of insider trading at a hedge fund, retained high- powered Washington lawyer John Dowd to represent him on Monday.
New York attorney Jim Walden, who originally represented the Sri Lankan billionaire after charges were announced against him and five others on October 16, said Dowd and lawyers at Akin Gump law firm would "represent him going forward."
Rajaratnam, arrested and charged with reaping millions in illegal profits through a network of inside informers at several major U.S. companies, is free on $100 million bond secured by his Manhattan apartment.
"Rest assured, his team will not miss a beat and is already well prepared to help him fight these charges and clear his name," Walden, of the law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher said in a statement.
Dowd is cited by Thomson Legal Record as heading the firm's criminal litigation group and his practice focuses on the trial of complex civil and criminal cases.
It said he was known for his representation of a U.S. district judge, a former U.S. attorney, two U.S. senators and a Governor over more than 30 years of practice.
A source familiar with the switch of lawyers said Rajaratnam, 52, was pleased with the original work done by Walden and his law firm, but decided on the change as the case proceeds.
The case is USA v Raja Rajaratnam et al, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No. 09-2306.
(Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Andre Grenon)