(Reuters) — The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a Connecticut venture capital executive previously charged with insider trading, and now accused of cheating his own clients out of tens of millions of dollars.
Iftikar Ahmed, 43, was accused of transferring $27.5 million to himself at the expense of investors in funds run by his former employer, Oak Investment Partners, where he had been a general partner.
The SEC said Ahmed induced his Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm into overpaying for investments in two Asian e-commerce companies, and pocketing $20 million for himself.
It also said Ahmed induced Oak to pay I-Cubed Domains LLC $7.5 million for its stake in a U.S. e-commerce company without revealing that he and his wife controlled I-Cubed, which had paid just $2 million for that same stake.
U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven, Connecticut froze as much as $55.1 million of Ahmed’s assets last week. Her order was made public on Wednesday. The SEC wants Ahmed to give up illegal gains and pay a civil fine.
Lawyers for Ahmed did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Last month, federal prosecutors in Boston criminally charged Ahmed and his longtime friend Amit Kanodia with insider trading in India-based Apollo Tyres Ltd‘s 2013 attempt to buy Cooper Tire & Rubber Co based on tips from Kanodia’s wife, who was then Apollo’s general counsel. The SEC brought related civil charges.
In a statement on Wednesday, an Oak spokeswoman said the firm reviewed investments in which Ahmed was directly involved following his arrest, and has been helping authorities.
“These allegations are deeply disturbing and completely contrary to our core value system,” the spokeswoman said.
The SEC said Ahmed is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and Harvard Business School. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison plus a $5 million fine in the criminal case.
The new SEC case is SEC v. Ahmed et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Connecticut, No. 15-00675. The other cases are U.S. v. Kanodia et al, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 15-mj-02062; and SEC v. Kanodia et al, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, No. 15-00479. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York. Editing by Andre Grenon)
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