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A private affair: Dethroning King Con without the state

Private prosecutions are on the rise; Tamlyn Edmonds and Ashley Fairbrother discuss the roaring success that was the conviction of fraudulent businessman Ketan Somaia

26 January 2016

On 13 January 2016, an Old Bailey judge made one of the largest confiscation and compensation orders this decade against a defendant he described as a ‘serial and formidable fraudster on a truly Olympian scale’, otherwise dubbed ‘King Con’. 

This landmark case was particularly unusual due to the fact it was brought by a private prosecutor, Murli Mirchandani, and resulted in the defendant, Ketan Somaia, being convicted of nine counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception to the value of £13.5m. 

Confiscation proceedings were commenced at the conclusion of the criminal trial under section 71 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and resulted in the defendant being ordered to pay a confiscation order in the sum of £20,434,691 and a compensation order in the sum of £18,420,956, payable within six months, and being handed down a combined sentence in default for both orders, set at 16 years. As the proceeds of the c...

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