Ex-Goldman director sues SEC over Galleon case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former Goldman Sachs Group Inc <GS.N> director accused of leaking confidential boardroom information has sued U.S. regulators, saying they are trying to unfairly deprive him of a jury trial.

Rajat Gupta is fighting civil charges that he tipped Galleon hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, the central figure in a sprawling insider trading case, about Warren Buffett's plans to invest in Goldman Sachs at the height of the financial crisis.

Gupta said in his complaint on Friday that the Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to retroactively apply the Dodd-Frank financial reform law by filing a so-called administrative proceeding against him. The proceeding means he must defend himself in a court that is part of the SEC rather than in a federal court, where he could have a jury trial.

The SEC's move is "an attempt to bring down a man of sterling reputation and remarkable achievements without the procedural safeguards historically accorded to all persons similarly charged," according to his complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

The SEC unveiled its case against Gupta on March 1, just days before Rajaratnam's criminal trial began. Gupta is one of the highest-ranking corporate leaders implicated in the government's wide-ranging insider trading probe. He has not been criminally charged.

Gupta, 62, is a former worldwide managing director at management consultant McKinsey & Co. He said in his complaint that he denies all allegations of wrongdoing.

Neither McKinsey nor Goldman has been charged with wrongdoing.

Florence Harmon, a spokeswoman for the SEC, declined to comment on Gupta's complaint.

The case is Gupta v. Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-1900.

(Reporting by Martha Graybow and Grant McCool; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)