A Vice President of Goldman Sachs in Bengaluru was arrested on Tuesday on charges of insider fraud and allegedly attempting to swindle Rs 38 crore ($5.4 million) from the company. Ashwani Jhunjhunwala, the vice-president (Foreign Exchange and Equity Settlements) of the investment company’s Bengaluru office has been accused of logging on to computers belonging to his juniors and carrying out these illegal transactions.
The company’s legal head in Bengaluru Abhishek Parsheera lodged a complaint with the Marathahalli Police on September 8 against Ashwani. According to the FIR, a copy of which is with TNM, Ashwani allegedly accessed the computers of his juniors – Gaurav Mishra, Abhishek Yadav and Sujith Appaiah on the pretext of training them. Jhunjhunwala had incurred debt of over Rs 50 lakh by playing online poker and he had also taken private loans from people. He told the police that he wanted to clear these debts
Speaking to TNM, the Marathahalli Police said, “On September 4, Ashwani Jhunjunwala approached his juniors on the pretext of training them and made them log into their computers. He then kept sending them out on errands to get water, food and such. During this time, in a matter of minutes, he used their computers to try and transfer the money belonging to the company into a private bank account.”
Investigating officers also said that Ashwani Jhunjhunwala asked his junior employee Gaurav to set up a settlement reconciliation service to recall payment. “This employee did not know how to do it and so Jhunjhunwala showed him how to do it. When Gaurav was going through the transactions, he found that there was money transferred to Synergy Wisdom Ltd's account in Hong Kong with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. The transaction showed that Gaurav had transferred the money, but the transaction had failed. The Rs 38 crore was reverted to Goldman Sachs,” the police added.
Gaurav then informed his colleagues Abhishek Yadav and Sujith Appaiah about the irregular transactions. They then decided to approach the legal team, the police said. Police said that the legal team questioned Gaurav, Abhishek and Sujith regarding the irregular transactions, which led them to suspect Ashwani’s involvement.
The police have also accessed the CCTV footage inside the office, which showed that Jhunjhunwala was using Gaurav’s system, when he was not around. “He transferred Rs 38 crore in two instalments to Synergy Wisdom Ltd’s bank account,” the police added.
“Ashwani told us that there was a former employee named Vedanta, who was terminated from employment because of insider fraud too. Jhunjhunwala got information about how Vedanta had siphoned off money and used the knowledge to siphon the funds,” the FIR in the case said.
DCP Whitefield MN Anuchet said that Ashwani will be produced before the magistrate today on Tuesday.
Ashwani Jhunjhunwala has been booked under sections 34 (common intention), 408 (criminal breach of trust), 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by a banker) of the IPC.
When TNM reached out to Goldman Sachs’s Abhishek Parsheera, he declined to comment. “In addition to the immediate dismissal of this employee, we are engaged with the authorities to activate criminal proceedings,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement.