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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Iftikar Ahmed has been found liable for defrauding Oak Investment Partners, the venture capital firm where he served as a general partner and invested in such companies as Circle, Kayak and GMarket.

Why it matters: Swifty Ifty is a cautionary tale for private investment partnerships that usually operate on implicit trust.

His saga also highlights the need for robust financial controls, likely above and beyond what most VC and PE firms currently employ.

The short story is that Ahmed lied to his partners about the capital requirements for certain overseas investments, and then pocketed the difference via a series of shell companies and secret accounts. He later fled for India, where he remains to this day. Among those he left behind were three minor children and wife Shalini, a former Goldman Sachs banker whose name was on several of the accounts and who also was listed as a defendant.

Ahmed never really denied the allegations, instead asserting his 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Per the summary judgment handed down last Thursday in a Connecticut courtroom:

"Defendant has received the benefit of the Fifth Amendment privilege at every stage of this proceeding, and now he must also bear the consequences of that decision."

Ahmed also never explained why someone with millions of dollars in assets and several high-value homes would need to rob his own shop (particularly when he was still in line for future carry). One theory relates to a 2013 cancer diagnosis that was disclosed during the trial, but a better theory remains simple greed.

Last Thursday's summary judgment only dealt with liability, while a second part will address appropriate relief. No comment yet from Ahmed, the SEC nor Oak (which was decimated by Ahmed's actions).

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
46 mins ago - Science

Biden's military space future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

Bipartisan group of senators unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.