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Ex-Intel exec says he fed trader info

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Intel executive pleaded guilty Monday to charges he fed confidential information about the computer-chip maker to wealthy hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, his old friend and central figure in a massive insider trading case.

"I gave Raj Rajaratnam the information because of my friendship with him," Rajiv Goel told a judge in federal court in Manhattan. "I cannot express how sorry I am."

Goel, 51, of Los Altos, Calif., became the ninth defendant to plead guilty out of 21 charged so far in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on May 28 but could receive far less time because he agreed to cooperate with the investigation as part of a plea deal.

Prosecutors allege Rajaratnam, the Sri Lanka-born portfolio manager for the Galleon Group hedge fund, pocketed up to $50 million through a network of cheating executives at financial firms and companies privy to inside information. He denies wrongdoing.

Goel, a resident of Los Altos, Calif., was a director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., until he left the company last year.