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Connecticut exec flees U.S. after insider trading, fraud claims -SEC

By Nate Raymond

May 26 (Reuters) - A Connecticut venture capital executive accused of insider trading and of cheating his clients out of tens of millions of dollars has fled the country, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Iftikar Ahmed, a former general partner at Oak Investment Partners, left the United States some time before May 18 in violation of a judge's order in the criminal insider trading case restricting his travel to three U.S. states, the SEC said in a court filing last week.

The SEC said his "recent flight from the United States" was a reason to expand an asset freeze to include various properties owned by Ahmed. A federal judge in Connecticut granted the request on Thursday.

It was unclear from court records where Ahmed is currently. Martin Klotz, Ahmed's lawyer, did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Ahmed, a resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, was arrested and criminally charged in April along with longtime friend Amit Kanodia for engaging in insider trading.

Federal prosecutors in Boston 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 trading in Cooper Tire shares and call options before the deal was announced, authorities said.

A lawyer for Kanodia did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

A month after that case was filed, the SEC, which had also sued over the insider trading, filed new civil charges against Ahmed for allegedly transferring $27.5 million to himself at the expense of investors in funds run by Oak Investment Partners.

The SEC said Ahmed induced his Greenwich, Connecticut-based firm into overpaying for investments in two Asian e-commerce companies, and pocketed $20 million for himself.

It also said Ahmed induced Oak to pay I-Cubed Domains LLC $7.5 million for its stake in a U.S. e-commerce company without revealing that he and his wife controlled I-Cubed, which had paid just $2 million for that same stake.

The SEC said Ahmed is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and Harvard Business School. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison plus a $5 million fine in the criminal case.

The cases in the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut are SEC v. Ahmed, No. 15-00675, and SEC v. Kanodia, No. 15-00479. The case in U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, is U.S. v. Kanodia, No. 15-mj-02062.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; Editing by David Ingram and Dan Grebler)

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