A 62-year-old citizen of the United Kingdom was arrested at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai over his alleged links to a Rs.13 crore cheating case. Mark Lawrence Lopresto was arrested by officials of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) on Feb.9.
A look-out circular (LOC) was issued against Lopresto when his name came up in a 2014 case of cheating, the Hindustan Times reported. The complainant in the case, Santosh Maskara, came to know Lopresto in 2007. He introduced Maskara to another person named Vivek Tondon, the police said, according to the report.
In his complaint, Maskara alleged that Lopresto, Tondon and other accused employees owe him Rs 12.43 crore. Consequently, Maskara filed a complaint with the Marine Drive police station in 2014. The charge of investigating the case was later handed over to the EOW.
“They had decided to jointly set up a company, Alphapet Limited in Mauritius, and had also decided the share holdings in the company. Later, the accused Tondon and others allegedly took 10,26,861 shares from Maskara’s company Poly Janta Technology, but never gave him any money for the same,” said a police officer, the report said. Lopresto, who belongs to London and holds dual nationality, was the chief finance officer in the company.
A charge sheet was filed against the other accused in the case, and Lopresto has been charged under various relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code.
This is the most recent case of a foreign national being accused of crime committed in India. In January this year, a German national was charged with raping six Indian children and appeared before court in Berlin for the alleged crimes. The incidents allegedly took place when he was working in India between 2015-16.
More than 400 foreigners were booked for various crimes in Goa in the last five years, state Tourism Minister Manohar Azgaonkar informed the Legislative Assembly in August last year.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, West Bengal recorded the maximum number of crimes registered with foreigners as offenders, at 520 cases, while Delhi recorded 143. A total of 91 cases were registered in Karnataka in 2016. The total number of crimes committed by foreigners in 2016 was 180 in Union Territories while the total in all of India in 2016 was 1,226.
In 2015, the numbers stood at 155 in Union Territories and 1,278 in all of India, while in 2014 the corresponding figures were 183 and 1,473, respectively.