Rajat Gupta, a former Goldman Sachs Group director and former global head of McKinsey & Co, is in FBI custody accused of leaking confidential information.
The charges relate to mr Gupta's hedge fund manager friend Raj Rajaratnam, the central figure in a US crackdown on insider trading.
An FBI spokesman said Gupta, 62, surrendered to agents at his home in Connecticut and he was driven to the New York FBI office, where he was placed under formal arrest at 1215 GMT.
Gupta is expected to appear in court later today on charges related to the Rajaratnam insider trading case, the spokesman said. Prosecutors said at Rajaratnam's trial that in 2008 Gupta leaked information about Goldman that he learned from the bank's board meetings.
Rajaratnam was convicted in May by a New York federal jury after a two-month-long trial. On 13 October, a judge sentenced him to 11 years in prison - the longest recorded for insider trading.