An NRI businessman and two of his British accomplices have been arrested in London on charges of duping over 600 people, including celebrities like former cricketer Darren Gough and singer Jerome Flynn, to the tune of 80 million pounds in a 'Ponzi' scam.
The mastermind of the scheme Chelsea-based Indian entrepreneur Nandan Pruthi and his business partners Kenneth Peacock and John Anderson were arrested after a series of raids conducted by the London police in the city, the Observer newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Financial Services Authority has frozen assets of Pruthi. Sports cars, jewellery and 250,000 pound in cash are among assets police and the FSA have managed to recover from Pruthi and his colleagues, though their value is less than two million pound.
There has been some speculation that money may have been salted away in Dubai, the Cayman islands or Thailand.
Former England cricketer Darren Gough, Rising Damp actress Francis de la Tour and singer Jerome Flynn are among the victims of the scam. A 1960s pop singer, as yet unnamed, is also among the victims while cricketer Kevin Pietersen has confirmed that he was approached by the suspected fraudsters but he decided not to hand over any of his money.
Several people are pursuing civil claims against Pruthi for the return of their money. Pruthi has filed a defence claiming he has instructed his bank to make payments to investors but they have been blocked by the freezing order.