The curtain has opened on what may be the closing act in a multinational fraud case involving India-born brothers Virendra and Narendra Rastogi, dozens of associates, two wives, a mistress, their defunct metals trading companies and losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
In the first weeks of a trial that could last four months, the prosecution laid out its case against Virendra Rastogi, former chief executive of RBG Resources Plc, and three associates in a courthouse in London. All four pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to defraud.
Richard Latham told the court that Rastogi spent years convincing banks in Britain and the United States to lend money based on fraudulent transactions, while RBG conducted a number of legitimate deals as nothing more than a cover to satisfy auditors and due-diligence inquiries.
Rastogi was helped by his brother in the United States, who was at the helm of a similar operation there, Allied Deals Inc.
RBG collapsed in 2002 with debts of about $445 million. Its failure followed that of Allied Deals, which eventually led to the trial and conviction on fraud charges of several principals and staff at that company.
Narendra Rastogi, who pleaded guilty to U.S. charges—as did Jaspreet "Soniya" Basra, company secretary and admitted forger, and Anil Anand, Allied Deals' chief financial officer—all did star turns on the witness stand for the prosecution, and all were grilled by a defense team determined to show that Virendra was a victim of his older brother's greed and jealousy.