London - A fraudster who ripped off the elderly in a £2.4million (nearly R45 million) scam is living the high life on the run in Dubai despite being sentenced to a long jail term.
Sami Raja, 32, has been gloating on social media website Instagram about his designer clothes and luxury holidays.
Authorities know where he is but have not tried to bring him back to Britain to serve his sentence.
The Crown Prosecution Services is reportedly awaiting the outcome of Raja’s appeal over his conviction and sentencing.
Victim Dennis Smith, 89, who lost £250,000, said: ‘The way Raja is living now makes you sick.
‘Police should be pursuing him to wipe the smile off of his face.’
In January last year, Raja was sentenced to eight years after being found guilty for his part in mis-selling carbon credits to 130 victims.
He did not turn up to his trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court and posts on his social media suggest he fled as early as November 2017.
By that time, he had become one of the ‘Rich Kids of London’ on Instagram and used the money to buy luxuries including an Aston Martin and Rolex. Just three days after sentencing, he posted pictures of himself at a £10,000-a-night Maldives resort only accessible by seaplane. He captioned one: ‘Im living life right now man and this is what ill do till its over.’
He has continued to taunt victims and the authorities with photos of his glamorous life in Dubai, where he has set up a consultancy firm.
His company’s website describes him as an FCA-qualified stockbroker and a ‘veteran professional’ with 12 years’ experience in managing investors.
His Instagram profile, now taken down, shows him posing next to a red Ferrari, wearing Gucci, and exploring the world’s most exclusive hotels. In another, he kisses a woman by a pool.
During his trial, Raja and four accomplices were said to have persuaded wealthy people over the age of 50 to hand over their life savings.
The scam involved convincing investors to buy carbon credits – certificates that allow an organisation to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide.
They were sold for £6.50 each – 25 times their market value – and could not even be traded. Raja was arrested in 2013 but it took years before his trial made it to court. During this time he allegedly continued his scams.
Kevin Cresswell, 50, invested £300,000 after being cold-called and repeatedly harassed by Raja in 2016. He said: ‘Police should be banging down doors. Raja is living the life of luxury on the proceeds of fraud.’
Police reportedly had no bail conditions restricting Raja from travelling when he absconded. Though Britain has an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, there have been several cases where it has refused to send people back.
A spokesman for the City of London Police said: ‘Sami Raja is appealing both his convictions and sentence. Issues regarding extradition are a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service.’ The CPS said that it did not comment on ongoing cases.