A senior Goldman Sachs executive working at the Bengaluru office in India was arrested earlier this week for stealing $5.3 million from the firm to pay down his gambling debts, reported Business Today.
Ashwani Jhunjhunwala, 36, the firm’s vice president, was arrested and will arrive in court in the near term, deputy commissioner of police MN Anucheth told the news agency.
Based on a complaint by Goldman Sachs, Jhunjhunwala used three of his subordinates Gaurav Mishra, Abhishek Yadav, and Sujith Appaiah to transfer the money. He had allegedly used their desktops during a “training session” to send the funds in two installments to an account he controlled at the Commercial Bank of China.
“He had access to another financial manager’s account. So he used it to transfer the money to himself. It happened within a span of just 10 minutes on September 4,” the deputy commissioner said.
The fraud surfaced on September 6 during an internal audit.
Mishra told the police that Jhunjhunwala asked him to create a Settlement Reconciliation Service (SRS) for payment recall earlier this month, which he wasn’t briefed on why he had to create such a thing considering he was a new employee.
Goldman Sachs in the complaint stated that Jhunjhunwala had lost $70,000 while playing online poker.
Gambling is illegal in Bengaluru, which is part of the Karnataka state. But the New Indian Express reports that the capital city has very laxed penalties for those found guilty of violating gambling laws.
“The penalty is pitiably low – Rs 200 ($2.78) fine for gamblers and Rs 500 for the clubs. Top officials say that imprisonment is rarely ordered by the magistrate court,” New Indian Express explains.
The total charge, according to Bengaluru code, could see Jhunjhunwala facing 27 years in prison and large fines, considering he stole $5 million.
Goldman Sachs has since terminated Jhunjhunwala, and the Commercial Bank of China has returned the funds.
Jhunjhunwala’s LinkedIn profile noted that he held an MBA and had over a decade of experience in capital market businesses and financial consultancy.