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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Goldman Sachs VP, ex-staffer held for siphoning off Rs 38.40 crore to pay poker debts

The main suspect Jhunjhunwala, who has been working with the company as VP – Foreign Exchange and Equity Settlements, for the past four years, is accused of committing the fraud after incurring losses of more than Rs 50 lakh in online poker.

south Updated: Sep 11, 2019 08:42 IST
Venkatesha Babu
Venkatesha Babu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
The logo of Goldman Sachs is displayed in their office located in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/Files
The logo of Goldman Sachs is displayed in their office located in Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/Files(REUTERS)
         

A 36-year-old Vice President of global investment bank Goldman Sachs, Ashwani Jhunjhunwala along with another former employee Vedanth Rungta have been arrested on Monday after being accused of siphoning off $ 5.4 million (approx. Rs 38.40 crore) through fraudulent transactions, according to the Bengaluru police.

The main suspect Jhunjhunwala, who has been working with the company as VP – Foreign Exchange and Equity Settlements, for the past four years, is accused of committing the fraud after incurring losses of more than Rs 50 lakh in online poker and was believed to have been aided in the fraud by the former employee Rungta.

Ashwani and Rungta were arrested on Monday after the legal head of Goldman Sachs Services Pvt Ltd, Abhishek Parasheera registered a complaint with the Marathalli police station under Sections 408 (criminal breach of trust), 409 (breach of trust by a public servant or banker), 419 (cheating by impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code on Sunday.

Marathalli police sources said that the crime was committed on September 4, when Ashwani Jhunjhunwala approached his juniors allegedly on the pretext of training them, since they were relatively new, he made them log into their computers and took charge. He apparently ensured that they were away from their computers for brief periods of time by requesting them to fetch food, water and other small errands. He then used their computers to transfer funds to a private bank account.

The fraud apparently came to the attention of the company on September 6 when it was red flagged by another employee and an internal investigation was launched. The three juniors of Jhunjhunwala - Gaurav Mishra, Sujith Appaiah and Abhisek Yadav - who reported to him were also questioned. The company then approached the police on September 8, who investigated the case and reviewed CCTV footage too.

Jhunjhunwala is accused of using the login credentials of a junior Gaurav Mishra under the guise of reviewing his work and then setting up a third-party settlement instruction of an entity named Synergy Wisdom Ltd in Hong Kong and trying to transfer the money in two tranches to an account at Industrial Commerce Bank of China (Asia) Ltd. In this he is said to have been guided by Rungta the former employee.

Ashwani is said to have claimed that he knew Vedant had perpetrated a fraud against Goldman Sachs and had got in touch with him via Facebook to raise a loan. Vedant in turn is said to have asked Ashwani to perpetrate this fraud.

The Bengaluru police in a press release said that an alert request was raised to the concerned (ICBC) bank where the money was fraudulently transferred, to stop and prevent the transfer of money. “Today the said Bank has stopped the transfer and transferred the entire amount back to the Company. Investigation is continuing and further details will be updated in due course,” it said in the release. Both the accused are expected to be produced before a court and remanded for further investigation.

Goldman Sachs meanwhile in a statement said, “In addition to the immediate dismissal of this employee, we are engaged with the authorities to activate criminal proceedings.”

First Published: Sep 10, 2019 22:27 IST

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