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Fugitive Connecticut fund manager charged in new U.S. indictment

(Reuters) - A Connecticut fund manager who fled the United States after being hit with criminal insider trading charges was indicted on Wednesday for engaging in a separate scheme to embezzle $54 million from the private equity firm for which he worked.

Iftikar Ahmed, a former general partner at Oak Investment Partners, was named in a seven-count indictment filed in federal court in Boston charging him with having engaged in wire fraud and having made false statements on income tax returns.

Prosecutors said that Ahmed, 44, embezzled the more than $54 million from the firm from 2004 to 2015 by submitting false invoices, overstating prices of business deals he orchestrated on the fund’s behalf and by setting up fraudulent bank accounts.

The indictment alleged that Ahmed used the money to buy a $9.6 million residence in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a luxury New York condominium for about $8.6 million.

The indictment follows a civil lawsuit last year by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over the same alleged fraud at Norwalk, Connecticut-based Oak Investment Partners.

Prosecutors later in August filed a criminal complaint against Ahmed and his wife, Shalini Ahmed, for conspiring to engage in money transactions in property derived from illegal activity related to the fraud.

Wednesday’s grand jury indictment expanded the charges against Ahmed, but did not name his wife. Neither could be reached for comment, and a lawyer for Iftikar Ahmed declined comment.

Ahmed, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and Harvard Business School, previously fled to India in May 2015 after prosecutors accused him and longtime friend Amit Kanodia for having engaging in insider trading.

In court papers, Ahmed has said that he is now prohibited from leaving India without a court’s approval after being arrested last year for unlawful entry into the country.

In the insider trading case, prosecutors said Kanodia learned details about India-based Apollo Tyres Ltd’s 2013 attempt to buy Cooper Tire & Rubber Co from his wife, then Apollo’s general counsel.

Kanodia began tipping Ahmed and another friend, allowing them to make more than $1 million making trades before the proposed $2.5 billion deal was announced in June 2013, authorities said.

The merger was abandoned that December amid an acrimonious legal battle between the companies.

Kanodia has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial on Sept. 19.

The cases in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, are U.S. v. Ahmed, No. 16-cr-10154, and U.S. v. Kanodia et al, No. 15-cr-10131.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by Tom Brown