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August 11, 2001
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Canadian MP linked to country's 'least wanted'

Ajit Jain in Toronto

Rakesh Saxena, one of the 10 "least wanted people in Canada", who allegedly hatched a conspiracy way back in 1995 to defraud the Bangkok Bank of Commerce to the tune of US$88-million is currently fighting an extradition battle in a Vancouver court.

According to a latest report, Canadian Alliance Member of Parliament John Reynolds owes Cdn$500,000 to Vancouver-based brokerage firm Global Securities on shares that he bought of a once fast-rising company called Wavetech Network, which is owned by Saxena.

A statement of claim filed by Global Securities in the district court alleges that Reynolds entered into a business transaction with Rakesh Saxena under the terms of which Reynolds became a director of Wavetech Networks.

Reynolds, however, has denied having had any business dealing with Saxena: "I have never heard that allegation before; it is amazing to me that it's in that (statement of claim)," he is quoted as saying in a detailed report in the National Post.

He even denies having had any connections with Saxena and Wavetech.

Saxena disagrees with Reynolds assertion: "My relationship with John (Reynolds) is purely business. He's not my friend or anything," he was quoted as saying.

Global Securities Corp is reportedly suing Reynolds for non-payment of about $500,000, the amount the Canadian Alliance House of Commons leader allegedly owes thanks to his purchase of Wavetech shares on behalf of a company owned by his wife.

Saxena drew the attention of international media when during 1995-96 he was accused of defrauding the Bangkok Bank of Commerce to the tune of several million dollars and then escaping from there and hiding in British Columbia.

He reportedly had several high profile accomplices in this conspiracy including members of the Thai royal family, the Russian mob and well-known arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

Thai Police finally caught up with him in Whistler, a ski resort near Vancouver when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested him as he was preparing to leave the country on a false identity.

Thai Police then formally sought his extradition to Thailand to face fraud charges there.

In June 1996, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Wally Oppal, himself an Indo-Canadian, released him after he posted a $2-million bail.

Saxena has been under house arrest since then in his luxury condominium in Vancouver. Under court orders he's paying Cdn$40,000 a month for his own 24-hour guards.

Last year, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that Saxena should be sent back to Thailand to face trial. He has, however, filed two appeals against attempts to extradite him -- one with Canada's Justice Minister Anne McLellan urging her to consider his case as he feels his life would be at risk if he was extradited to Thailand -- and the other in the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

This apart, Saxena is facing a spate of legal action reportedly involving non-payment of debts.

According to court documents, Alliance MP Reynolds became a director of Wavetech in February 2000.

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