A Kenyan business tycoon who fleeced wealthy investors in the United Kingdom of £14 million (about Sh2 billion) was jailed for eight years Tuesday.
Ketan Somaia, 52, was recently found guilty of fraud after the largest ever private prosecution in English legal history.
Somaia was convicted of nine counts of fraud after a prosecution launched by former friend Murli Mirchandani at the Old Bailey. Mr Mirchandani lost nearly $20 million (Sh1.7 billion) between 1999 and 2000. A second investor Dilip Shah lost $200,000.
According to a Daily Mail report, Somaia wooed his victims with champagne parties, extravagant dinners and expenses paid trips on private Learjets to Dubai, Kenya and South Africa. Dubbed ‘King Con’, he boasted about ties to the billionaire Hinduja brothers while showing off a plush office in Mayfair and a palatial home in the exclusive north London suburb of Hadley Wood.
“In reality Somaia was shamelessly exploiting his unwitting victims to get his hands on their money to sustain his luxurious lifestyle and prop up his failing businesses,” the paper reports.
READ: Ketan Somaia convicted for $19.5m fraud
“Even after his arrest Somaia continued to live in a manner that ‘most can only dream of’, dining at the five-star Dorchester hotel in Mayfair and the exclusive East India Men’s Club, and sending his teenage daughter to a finishing school in Switzerland.”
Sentencing Somaia, Judge Richard Hone QC said: “It is apparent from the evidence that your Dolphin Group of companies was in serious trouble at the time of the economic downturn at the end of 1999.
“I am satisfied the money you took as loans and investments were never invested as you said they would be but were used by you either for your own purposes or to prop up your failing companies.
“You were fundamentally dishonest in your dealings with both Murli Mirchandani and Dilip Shah. You breached their trust in you in a callous, immoral and flagrant manner.”