Accused ‘stole thousands in fake business deals‘ from Portsmouth’s Bangladeshi community

ACCUSED G R Chowdhury
ACCUSED G R Chowdhury
Roger Giese

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ONE of the alleged victims of a man accused of defrauding members of the Bangladeshi community out of thousands of pounds has spoken of his ordeal in court.

Syed Miah told Winchester Crown Court that he lost money to Golam Rashed Chowdhury, who is on trial accused of fraudulently taking thousands of pounds from 10 victims, telling them the money would be invested in business ventures.

Mr Miah told Winchester Crown Court that he first met with Chowdhury in 2008 when they discussed investing money buying and selling car parts in Bangladesh.

He told the court that he was promised that for every £25,000 he invested, he would receive £7,500 in dividends every 10 weeks. Mr Miah said he made his first payment to Chowdhury in June 2009.

Over a period of several months, he sent more money to Chowdhury, totalling £150,000, the court heard.

Mr Miah, from Oldham,said he borrowed the money from family and friends and that he began to face pressure from them.

When he hadn’t received any money by December, he contacted Chowdhury who told him the deal had fallen through and the money he had invested would be returned.

Mr Miah said: ‘He said because of the world recession he wasn’t going to carry on his business anymore so he couldn’t pay me any profit but that he would pay me what I had paid to him. He said he would pay me within three months.’

He continued: ‘I was under pressure from the people I borrowed money from. They didn’t believe me. I was telling them that I was struggling to get the money.’

Mr Miah recalled a phone conversation with Chowdhury, in which Chowdhury promised he would get his money back.

The court was told that during the call Chowdhury said: ‘I’m in so much trouble. I am so embarrassed. I am living a life full of shame and abuse. Sometimes I feel I will die without paying back people’s money.’

Luke Ponte, defending, said Mr Miah was actually sending payments to his brother in Bangladesh rather than to Chowdhury. But Mr Miah denied having any family living out there.

‘The truth is that these people were trying to get money out of the country back to Bangladesh,’ said Mr Ponte.

‘He never said to you that he was involved in business buying and selling car part.’

Addressing Mr Miah, Mr Ponte added: ‘You never invested money with him at all.’

Chowdhury, 27, from Penhale Road, Portsmouth, denies 10 counts of fraud totalling £750,000.

The trial continues.