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HK lawyer jailed over fraud, money lost in Macau casinos
Navin-kumar Aggarwal, formerly a senior partner at international law firm K&L Gates, based in Hong Kong, has been jailed for gambling away up to HKD500 million of clients’ and investors’ money.
“How does a man get through at least HKD500 million of other people’s money? The answer in your case was gambling (…) so the money has gone forever, lost in the casinos of Macau, wasted in the pursuit of your own pleasure,” Judge Peter Line stated in his ruling.
According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the lawyer, 47, pleaded guilty, in the Court of First Instance, to two counts of fraud and one of money laundering. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for his HKD8 billion fraud and money laundering scheme, devised to pay off his own gambling debts.
Foreign and local potential investors, as well as clients, suffered losses of HKD572 million. K&L Gates has had to pay compensation to the affected clients. During the trial, one of the judges described the case as “Hong Kong’s worst case of embezzlement.”
The lawyer, who earned up to USD1 million a year, began gambling in the mid-2000s, in an attempt to win enough money to settle huge debts. He approached multiple potential investors and assured them he had great business opportunities to offer, asking investors to deposit money in the firm’s account to confirm they had sufficient funds.
According to the South China Morning Post report, “hundreds of millions of dollars were transferred to casinos, relatives in India and other companies.” K&L Gates has more than 2,000 lawyers and practices in 48 offices across the globe.
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