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Goldman Sachs VP Ashwani Jhunjhunwala arrested for Rs 38-crore fraud to pay off poker debt

FE Online
Ashwani Jhunjhunwala, Goldman Sachs fraud
Ashwani Jhunjhunwala, Goldman Sachs fraud

A senior executive of Goldman Sachs, a multinational financial services firm, was arrested on Tuesday by the Bengaluru Police on charges of financial fraud. According to reports, the arrested executive, who has been identified as Ashwani Jhunjhunwala, swindled the firm to the tune of Rs 38 crore to pay off financial losses incurred while poker online.

Jhunjhunwala was Vice President of the American multinational firm and was posted at the firm’s Bengaluru office. He was arrested on September 10 by the Bengaluru Police on a complaint filed by the legal head of the company Abhishek Parsheera.

Abhishek had filed a case against Jhunjhunwala under various IPC sections including criminal breach of trust and cheating. Besides Jhunjhunwala, his aide Vedant Rungta was also named in the complaint. Vedant is still at large.

According to the complainant, Jhunjhunwala, 36, allegedly tried to transfer the firm’s money illegally to an account in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. For this, he had used the computers of junior staff — Gaurav Mishra, Abhishek Yadav and Sujith Appaiah.

Jhunjhunwala had logged on to the computers of the junior employees on the pretext of training them, the FIR said. While working on their computers, he sent them away for other work and logged on to their system. He then tried to transfer Rs 38 crore in two installments to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

The matter came to light during an internal audit on September 6. Initially, Mishra, Yadav and Appaiah were questioned about the fraud, but they were clueless about the fraud.

During the audit, Mishra told officials that Jhunjhunwala had asked him to create a Settlement Reconciliation Service (SRS) for payment recall recently. Mishra said that he did not know as he was new to the firm. It was during that time that Jhunjhunwala took control of his computer and tried to transfer the funds on September 4.

According to a statement issued by the company, Jhunjhunwala had lost USD 70,000 while playing online game poker. Besides, he had also obtained loan of Rs 25 lakh and personal loans from other firms.

During the investigation, it was revealed that Jhunjhunwala had consulted Vedant following losses in online game Poker who guided him to divert the company’s funds. Vedant was terminated by the company for fraudulent activities soon after his role was exposed.