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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

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.

12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden meeting Quad amid own pivot toward Asia

Artists paint portraits of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in Mumbai, India. Photo: Anshuman Poyrekar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

President Biden plans to meet this month with the leaders of Japan, Australia and India in a virtual summit of the so-called Quad, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: By putting a Quad meeting on the president’s schedule, the White House is signaling the importance of partnerships and alliances to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.