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Aug 03, 2009 at 08:05am IST

NRI held for duping celebrity investors

London: An NRI businessman Kautilya Nandan Pruthi and his two British accomplices have been arrested in London on charges of allegedly duping more than 600 people including many celebrities.

Pruthi's victims include celebrities like former English cricketer Darren Gough and singer Jerome Flynn.

His online profile describes him as a 'zany entrepreneur with some good ideas who is interested in good food, cars and bikes', but 38-year-old NRI entrepreneur, Pruthi, is now in custody for allegedly swindling over 600 people.

Pruthi and his two British partners reportedly managed a ponzi scheme to the tune of £80 million.

The modus operandi of the trio was a characteristic ponzi scheme. They used to take money from one to pay another.

It seems that they recycled millions of pounds from new investors on to existing ones, while maintaining a facade of a high-yield fund.

Pruthi's company Business Consulting International offered investors returns of upto 13 per cent and investors were told that their money was being invested as venture capital in small and struggling businesses overseas.

The list of victims includes celebrities like Gough and Flynn. Even cricketer Kevin Pietersen has admitted that he was approached but didn't get involved.

It is believed that the scheme began in 2007 but was detected late last year.

Police have seized assets including sports cars from Pruthi and his friends and say the rest of the loot may have gone to accounts in Dubai, Cayman Islands and Thailand.

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