Disgraced Indian American venture capitalist Iftikar ‘Ifty’ Ahmed, accused of embezzling funds from his own company, has been ordered by a federal judge to pay $64 million to Oak Investment Partners.
Ahmed, who has been representing himself as he is unable to pay an attorney, filed an appeal Oct. 1, which will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York City.
U.S. District Judge Janet B Arterton ordered Ahmed, who has been on the lam in India since 2015, to repay $42 million to Oak, as well as $21 million in penalties, and $1.5 million in interest. The Securities and Exchange Commission had initially asked for $89 million from the family of Ahmed, who remain in the U.S., but Arterton declined to award the full amount.
The SEC has frozen the couple’s assets of approximately $118 million. A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 29 to determine whether to unfreeze Ahmed’s remaining assets. A Connecticut court has frozen $74 million of his assets, including an eight-bedroom mansion in Greenwich, two Manhattan apartments and millions of dollars of gold and jewelry.
Ahmed’s wife Shalini and their three sons remain in the U.S. Ifty Ahmed is still living in India, couch surfing at friends’ homes in Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to various media reports, Ahmed came under suspicion initially in 2015 for alleged insider trading. This prompted Oak Investments to start an investigation of its own, which unearthed the embezzlement scheme.
According to SEC reports, Ahmed allegedly presented Oak’s partners with investment opportunities in overseas businesses. He then misrepresented the terms of the deals – the actual value of the company or exchange rates – and then transferred the difference in amounts to accounts controlled by him and his wife. The SEC reported that Ahmed had made at least 10 fraudulent deals in this manner.
The SEC claimed that in April 2015, Ahmed used $18 million in Oak investment money to purchase a Manhattan condominium.
The IIT Delhi graduate, who received his MBA from Harvard, worked at Goldman Sachs. His wife Shalini, who also worked at Goldman, was charged with money laundering in an unrelated matter, but the charges against her were subsequently dropped.
In an extensive interview via e-mails from India, Ahmed told The Wall Street Journal that he is penniless and crashing on friends’ spare beds. He also said he had cancer, and asked the SEC to unfreeze some of his assets for treatment.
Ahmed fled to India on an invalid Indian passport, after the American government seized his U.S. passport.
“My living conditions are a far cry from my living conditions in the States,” the 44-year-old wrote in a series of emails to The Wall Street Journal. “I really have no assets here! I wish I did and…I could buy a nice car and an apartment.”