LONDON: The former senior managing partner of Abraaj equity group Sivendran Vettivetpillai has pleaded guilty to nine counts of criminal charges carrying a total of 115 years in jail and a fine of up to $11.5 million. According to Sivendran Vettivetpillai’s guilty plea, these criminal activities took place between 2014 and 2018, as charged by the United States authorities. The Sri Lankan born British national Sivendran Vettivetpillai who is commonly known as Sev Vettivetpillai – pleaded guilty to the serious charges before Judge Sarah Netburn at the US District Court in the Southern District of New York. According to court papers lodged at the London High Court and the New York District Court, Sivendran Vettivetpillai pleaded guilty to serious financial crimes in order to get less jail years and fine through a bargain with the US authorities against Pakistani national former founder and chief executive of Abraaj, Mr Syed Arif Naqvi. The guilty plea by Sivendran Vettivetpillai follows a guilty please by another Abraaj managing partner Mustafa Abdel-Wadood who also pleaded guilty to the same charges. Pakistani national Arif Naqvi is the only Abraaj senior figure vociferously fighting all charges and maintaining his innocence. Arif Naqvi has said that he didn’t commit any crime and his lawyers didn’t comment when approached about the guilty plea by other Abraaj exceutives. Sivendran Vettivetpillai lives in Northwood, north west London, in a mansion worth over £3 million. Sivendran Vettivetpillai confirmed in writing before the court that “no threats or promises, or other improper inducements” were made to him to make him to consent. His guilty plea papers says that he pleaded guilty “voluntarily” and was not forced. Court papers show that Sivendran Vettivetpillai’s criminal guilty plea has been accepted by the US Judge. Lewis A. Kaplan, United States District Judge of the Southern District of New York allowed the guilty pleas of Sivendran Vettivetpillai to be taken “through videoconference or telephonic means” because of COVID and Sivendran Vettivetpillai’s “medical condition” meant “an in person proceeding cannot be held for the foreseeable future”. The US indictment alleged that Sev Vettivetpillai and others caused “at least hundreds of millions” of investor funds to be misappropriated, either to disguise liquidity shortfalls or for their personal benefit. In the indictment, it is alleged that the former Abraaj managing partner Sivendran Vettivetpillai attempted to hide the firm’s precarious finances from investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, while trying to raise $6bn for a private equity fund. The US federal prosecutors allege that Sivendran Vettivetpillai and others “inflated the valuations of investments in private equity funds by more than half a billion dollars by fraudulently claiming that Abraaj funds were more successful than they were, these inflated valuations deprived investors of accurate information on which to base their investment decisions,” the indictment said. Sivendran Vettivetpillai is a chartered financial analyst by profession earning a BEng in Civil Engineering from Imperial College in London. the Sri Lankan born Sivendran Vettivetpillai is married to Menaka Ganeshalingam Vettivetpillai, daughter of Kanagasabai Ganeshalingam, the late Sri Lankan Tamil politician who served as Mayor of Colombo and Yamuna Ganeshalingam, who still works as a social activist in Colombo. Sivendran Vettivetpillai joined Abraaj in 2012 after his investment firm Aureos Capital was acquired by Arif Naqvi. At Abraaj, Sivendran Vettivetpillai focussed on impact investing, mainly within its healthcare fund until 2018 when he filed a lawsuit for $2.92m against Abraaj but nothing happened as the firm collapsed. Sivendran Vettivetpillai then joined Liechtenstein’s LGT Impact Ventures as its Chief Executive but inexplicably left after only 10 months to “move on to other initiatives” but it’s understood that he was asked to leave the firm as the Abraaj news went live involving senior executives. According to the UK’s Companies House data, Sivendran Vettivetpillai has been personally involved in numerous healthcare related businesses in the UK since 2015. In spite of admitting guilt for conspiracy to commit several counts of fraud, Sev Vettivetpillai and his wife Menaka Ganeshalingam Vettivetpillai still have lots of UK companies owning substantial UK based property assets. From records publicly available, it looks like the businesses are operated through a tangled spider’s web of holding companies, an offshore trust in the Channel Islands under the name of Menaka Ganeshalingham Vettivetpillai (MGV) and have loans registered between companies owned by the same family. It’s being reported all of the companies could now be investigated by the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service and Serious Fraud Office for offences under the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, following the entry of guilty plea. Sivendran Vettivetpillai was arrested a few days after Arif Naqvi’s arrest in London and temporarily jailed in the UK’s notorious Wandsworth prison during April 2019 in the aftermath of the world’s biggest private-equity insolvency. According to The Wall Street Journal, in June 2020 Vettivetpillai was ready to be extradited to US and was cooperating with US authorities, expecting to plead guilty. It’s understood a year later Sivendran Vettivetpillai decided to formally enter the guilty pleas after long negotiations, accepting his role on nine counts of conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.