January 23, 2009

Satyam chairman accused of theft

A prosecutor in India said Satyam Computer Services Chairman B. Ramalinga Raju invented 13,000 fictitious employees to steal money from the company.

S. Bharat Kumar, Raju's attorney, denied the charges, which include allegations that Raju used his elderly mother's name to buy land with the stolen money. All through the interrogation there were no questions about any diversion of funds, Kumar said in court, The New York Times reported Friday. And there was no admission, he said.

Prosecutor Ajay Kumar said Raju made 400 land purchases under assumed names. The software company had 40,000 employees, not the 53,000 for whom the company allocated funds for paychecks, Kumar said.

Satyam Computer Services made headlines Jan. 7, when Raju admitted he had fabricated $1 billion to make the company appear in better shape than it was.

Preliminary findings from subsequent investigations have concluded the fraud was far larger than that, the Times said.