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Assamese NRI charged with securities fraud


Sentinel Digital Desk

From a Correspondent

JORHAT, May 24: US authorities have filed crimil and civil insider trading charges against two persons of Indian origin, including a Connecticut venture capital executive, accused of profiting illegally from India-based Apollo Tyres Ltd's attempt to buy Cooper Tyre & Rubber Co in 2013.

Iftikhar Ahmed, a general partner of Oak Investment Partners in Greenwich, Connecticut, and his longtime friend Amit Kanodia were each charged with one crimil count of securities fraud.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed related civil charges against the duo for defrauding the venture capital fund's investors of 27.5 million, a little more than a month after they were arrested on insider trading charges.

Authorities allege Kanodia learned details about the proposed merger between Apollo and Cooper from his wife, who was Apollo's general counsel at the time, more than two months before the merger was announced. He then tipped Ahmed and another friend, who together made more than $1.1 million of illegal profit by trading Cooper Tyre shares and call options..

Ahmed and the friend then allegedly kicked back some profit to Kanodia, including $2,20,000 that Ahmed transferred to a supposed charity used by Kanodia to mask the kickback, authorities said.

Trading on insider information is considered fraud under US law. Ahmed and Kanodia each face a maximum 20 years in prison plus a $5 million fine in the crimil case. However, insider trading sentences are typically less severe than the maximums.

An Oak spokesman said Ahmed has been put on compulsory leave of absence.

A tive of Assam, Iftikhar Ahmed secured second position in 10th board exam from Don Bosco Guwahati in 1987 and topped Higher Secondary from Cotton College in 1989. After graduating in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi in 1993, Ahmed did his MBA with high distinction from Harvard Business School in 1999.

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