Cricket star victim of £115 million fraudster

Victim: Darren Gough
Victim: Darren Gough
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A CORRUPT businessman who conned £115 million out of celebrities and sports stars, including Barnsley-born cricketer Darren Gough, has been jailed for 14 years and six months.

Indian-born Kautilya Pruthi was labelled a ‘professional fraudster’ as he was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court, and told he faced deportation back to his home country after his jail term.

He earned £38 million from his swindle after conning up to 700 victims in Britain’s biggest ‘Ponzi’ investment scam – where investors were promised a high return on their cash from money paid by subsequent investors further down the chain.

Former cricketer Darren Gough and actor-turned-singer Jerome Flynn were among those taken in by the flamboyant fraudster, who claimed he was one of the richest men in London.

Investors lost life savings after being told they would get massive returns unmonitored by the Financial Services Authority.

Jailing him, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “You are an extremely intelligent, articulate, sophisticated and plausible liar. In short, a professional fraudster. You set up and masterminded what may well be the largest and longest running Ponzi fraud to come before the courts in this country.”

Many investors lost their homes, pensions and life savings, he added.

Pruthi, from South London, used the money to fund a ‘lavish lifestyle’, the court heard.