RBG Resources plc was a London-based company buying and selling consignments of metals from around the world. The principal executive was Virendra Rastogi. In 2000 RBG's declared turnover was over one billion US dollars with profits of eleven million. It had "hub" operations in India, Dubai and Hong Kong and gave the impression of being a very successful operation. All was not as it seemed; in 2002 it went into liquidation with debts of US$ 420 million.
Though RBG did conduct some legitimate trades, most of its turnover was phantom business. The false trades were kept separate from the legitimate deals in different parts of the Piccadilly office and closely under the control of Rastogi and his co-conspirators. The bogus trades comprised false shipping documents, fabricated orders and paperwork such as faxes from supposed agents in numerous countries.
The SFO investigation started in May 2002. Material seized included rubber stamps and stationery relating to hundreds of bogus counterparties. These had been used to secure substantial loans from commercial banks. As an example of the deception, one of the dealer's offices instead of being a metals warehouse was in fact a launderette in the US and another, a cowshed in India.
A mistake in 2001 helped uncover the fraud. Letters faxed to RBG's auditors in London were supposed be from competing counterparties in different countries. However they were sent from the same fax machine in Hong Kong.
The investigation was global and included assistance from the Hong Kong police and from the US Department of Justice who had brought a prosecution against Virendra Rastogi's brother, Narendra, and others for a parallel fraud operated in New York, to which they had pleaded guilty. The terms of their plea bargain included giving evidence at trial for the prosecution in London. Virendra was sentenced to 9 ½ years. Two other RBG directors were also jailed