An Indian-origin man and his two partners in one of Britain’s largest investment scams were on Tuesday ordered to pay nearly £115 million for illegally accepting deposits from customers without authorisation from the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
The three scamsters are Kautilya Nandan Pruthi, John Anderson and Kenneth Peacock. The Judge ordered Pruthi to pay £89,798,938.42, Anderson £13,197,076.15 and Peacock £11,645,052.99.
The judgement to repay the money was delivered at the High Court on Tuesday following their conviction in March that they had illegally accepted deposits.
The FSA will now seek to enforce the judgement and return money that can be retrieved to investors who had dealings with Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock.
The High Court ruled that Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock, under their trading styles of Business Consulting International, John Anderson Consulting and Kenneth Peacock Consulting, were in breach of section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
Margaret Cole, director of enforcement and financial crime at the FSA, said: “As the Judge commented in his ruling the FSA took quick and decisive action against Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock and was entirely justified in intervening, using the full force of the legislation, to bring the scheme to a speedy conclusion and prevent further consumers being cheated.”
She added: “However, this case again emphasises the importance of taking care to ensure that any firm or individual consumers deal with are authorised or approved by the FSA. Authorisation offers consumers valuable protection and access to complaints and compensation arrangements should anything go wrong.”
Investors should be aware that previous experience in cases of this type suggests that it is unlikely that money owed to investors by Pruthi, Anderson and Peacock will be repaid in part or at all, the FSA said.
The police is still investigating the high-yield scheme in which hundreds of investors, including sports stars and celebrities, collectively invested £84 million into Business Consulting International.
The company offered investors returns of up to 13 per cent per month. It said it would lend money to distressed companies that needed short-term cash and were willing to pay high interest rates on it.