Businessman bailed over £115m Ponzi scam

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The Independent Online

A businessman appeared in court today accused of masterminding a sprawling £115 million scam that claimed a series of high-profile victims.

Kautilya Nandan Pruthi, 39, is charged with 30 fraud offences including running a bogus business, money laundering and obtaining money by deception.

He is also accused of participating in a fraudulent business, fraud, obtaining money by deception, unauthorised regulated activity and concealing criminal property from his base in Knightsbridge, central London, between August 2005 and June 2009.

He was charged in July following an investigation into a gang suspected of cheating at least 600 people around the world.

People were persuaded to invest in an apparently high-yield fund, but the money was allegedly siphoned off to fuel the lavish lifestyles of those behind it.

Victims are believed to include a 1960s pop star, a household name from television and the cricketer and Strictly Come Dancing champion Darren Gough.

The swindle is said to be one of the biggest "Ponzi" frauds, a crime made famous by disgraced Wall Street broker Bernard Madoff, yet detected in Britain.

Pruthi appeared at City of London Magistrates' Court. A court official said his bail had been renewed and he would appear at the court again on October 29.