In­vestor duped into bad busi­ness deal

Central Leader - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - STAFF RE­PORTER

A busi­ness­man who claimed he had lu­cra­tive con­tracts with sports sta­di­ums has been or­dered to pay back a man who in­vested $70,000 into what he thought was a ‘‘prom­i­nent’’ com­pany.

Chris De Vil­liers took busi­ness­man Manu Ras­togi to court, al­leg­ing he was duped into in­vest­ing in EVP Re­cruit­ment.

In 2009 he an­swered an ad­ver­tise­ment look­ing for a sales man­ager and part­ner to help grow an al­ready suc­cess­ful ‘‘prom­i­nent’’ south Auck­land busi­ness run by Ras­togi.

At the Auck­land District Court, de Vil­liers claimed Ras­togi told him the busi­ness had an $180,000 per annum turnover, that prof­its could be tripled, and that it had con­tracts lined up at su­per rugby and cricket games at Eden Park, War­riors games at Mount Smart, and Alexan­dra Park race meet­ings. Ras­togi al­legedly pro­duced in­voices to­talling $235,000 which he said were from clients, in­clud­ing top end ho­tels at Eden Park, Alexan­dra Park, and Eller­slie Events Cen­tre. He was also said to have pro­vided an in­come and ex­pen­di­ture state­ment from the pre­vi­ous year show­ing prof­its of more than $100,000.

Sat­is­fied the busi­ness ven­ture was sound De Vil­liers took out a loan to pur­chase half the busi­ness, pro­vid­ing the sup­port­ing fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion Ras­togi had given him.

In 2014 De Vil­liers be­gan court pro­ceed­ings, al­leg­ing the busi­ness never de­posited in­come into its ac­counts, that the tax re­turn filed in 2008 by Ras­togi had showed a tax­able in­come of just $7356, that Eden Park had in­voiced the busi­ness just once and that Mount Smart and Alexan­dra Park never had, and that at least 10 in­voices pro­duced by Ras­togi were fake.

De Vil­liers said he re­lied on Ras­togi’s rep­re­sen­ta­tions in mak­ing his de­ci­sion to in­vest in the busi­ness and that he was only will­ing to do so on the ba­sis of the fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion pro­vided.

De Vil­liers sought a to­tal of $69,168.38, he paid into the busi­ness, be re­turned.

Judge Nevin Daw­son said there was ‘‘strong doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence’’ sup­port­ing De Vil­liers’ al­le­ga­tions.

Ras­togi had since moved to Aus­tralia and de­clined to par­tic­i­pate in pro­ceed­ings.

Judge Daw­son ruled De Vil­liers had paid nearly $70,000 into the busi­ness based on ‘‘mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions’’ and he was en­ti­tled to have the money re­funded to him.

DAVID ROGERS/GETTY

A busi­ness­man claimed he had busi­ness with Eden Park and Mount Smart, in or­der to get an in­vest­ing part­ner on board.

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