FCA action brings prison sentence for fraudster in £1.4m investment scam

Samrat Bhandari, who played a prime role in the operation of an investment scheme which led to more than 300 investors losing a total of £1.4m, was today sentenced at Southwark Crown Court to a total of 3½ years’ imprisonment.

Bhandari, who operated out of Dubai, was also disqualified from holding the position of director for 12 years.

In sentencing, Judge Loraine-Smith stated that Bhandari had been “entirely self-centred and devious”, demonstrating “not a shred of regret” for what he had done nor any sympathy to the investors. He described Bhandari using the enterprise as his “cash cow”. The Judge said “regulation it seems, means nothing to you.”
Bhandari, who was convicted following a trial at Southwark Crown Court lasting 49 days, had offered to repay the investors in the scheme but later withdrew his offer in a move described by the judge as “another example of your manipulative nature”.

His sentence follows that of Aleem Mirza, Michael Moore and Paul Moore who were also given sentences of imprisonment at an earlier hearing for their involvement in the investment scheme.

Commenting on the case, Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said, “Bhandari was the controlling mind in this scheme and he deliberately abused his position as a corporate adviser to exploit hundreds of vulnerable investors for his personal gain. This prosecution by the FCA reflects our commitment to protect investors by bringing the operators of unauthorized investment schemes such as this to justice and the sentence shows how seriously the courts view this kind of offending.”

International Investment reported on the trial’s verdict on 21 December last year.

Christopher Copper-Ind
Christopher Copper-Ind is Publisher and Editor of International Investment. His previous publishing experience focused largely on the Middle East and emerging markets, and he was Editorial Director of The Business Year, based in Istanbul, for three years before moving back to London in 2017. He is the author of How to Negotiate, to be published by Macmillan in 2019.

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