Business

Disgraced former venture capitalist Iftikar Ahmed has fled to India

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Iftikar Ahmed, shown in 2012

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Iftikar Ahmed was once regarded as one of the brightest rising stars in the venture capital world. Now, in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journalhe says he spends his evenings sleeping on the couches of friends in India, relying on the same folks to pay for his clothes, while he figures out a way to pay for his cancer treatment.

The U.S. Government, however, have their own opinions of Ahmed the person: he’s a liar and a thief.

Ahmed last year fled the country after being charged with stealing at least $65 million while working at the venture-capital firm Oak Investment Partners. He returned to his native India, where’s he remained, at least thus far, out of the reach of American authorities. Fleeing to his homeland, Ahmed left behind his wife, three sons, a multitude of projects he was working on, and tens of millions of dollars in his American bank accounts.

The government says he’s on the run, but Ahmed says he’s not hiding from anyone.

“My living conditions are a far cry from my living conditions in the States,” the 44-year-old wrote in a recent email interview with the Journal. “I really have no assets here! I wish I did and…I could buy a nice car and an apartment.”

In court papers, Ahmed says he isn’t a fugitive and that he plans to fly back as soon as the Indian government lets him. He doesn’t address why he left for India in the first place and refused to discuss his case.

He first arrived in the states as a graduate student at Harvard Business School, landing a job at Goldman Sachs after graduation. That was before becoming a partner in 2004 at Norwalk, Conn.-based Oak, one of the country’s oldest venture-capital firms.

Ahmed was arrested in 2015 for allegedly making $1.1 million through insider trading. The arrest prompted his employers at Oak to have a closer look into his investments for the firm. The company further alleged that Ahmed had defrauded the firm and its clients of millions of dollars using fake invoices, inflated fees or phony exchange rates, according to court documents.

He has since been charged with fraud and insider trading by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. If convicted, Ahmed faces the possibility of life imprisonment. He is fighting regulators over the freezing of his assets but hasn’t entered a plea.

A Connecticut court has frozen $74 million of his assets, including an eight-bedroom mansion in Greenwich, Conn., two Manhattan apartments and millions of dollars of gold and jewelry.

Ahmed left for India one month after his arrest, where he was immediately detained by authorities for 60 days after he entered the country with a doctored passport. They are in the process of building a criminal case against him for entering the country using invalid documents. In his petition seeking bail last year, Mr. Ahmed’s Indian lawyer said he was “absolutely innocent and is in no way connected with the commission of the alleged offenses or at all but has been falsely implicated in this case.”

In the meantime, Ahmed says he has been traveling between Kolkata, Mumbai and Hyderabad. “I do have friends and family in many cities, so it’s OK,” he says. He says he speaks frequently to his children. He has missed one birthday of each of his sons and two of his wife’s, “and that’s what hurts the most.”

Information from the Wall Street Journal contributed to this report.

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