Bill Gates and Kofi Annan Spring to Rajat Gupta’s Defense as Sentencing Looms – Rajat Gupta has powerful friends and he needs them right now as he faces sentencing for insider trading convictions later in October.

Among the allies who seek fairness in the former Goldman Sachs Group board member Gupta’s sentencing are Microsoft’s Bill Gates and former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Gupta, 63, is the most influential and best-known corporate personality to be caught in a wide-ranging insider trading crackdown of the last four years, moved in elite business and philanthropic circles for decades. He is also a former head of the McKinsey & Co management consultancy.

A jury convicted Gupta in June of tipping his friend and business associate, Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam, about Goldman’s boardroom secrets during the financial crisis. He was found not guilty of divulging the quarterly earnings in January 2009 of Procter & Gamble Co , where he also served as a board member.

Microsoft Corp co-founder Gates, in one letter among about 200 written to U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, wrote that he wanted to help “round out Rajat’s profile as you consider the appropriate sentence for him.”