Over a month after UK woman’s complaint, police book Kochi man for Rs 8cr cheating

Penelope Koch. Photo: Special arrangement

Kochi: The Fort Kochi police here on Monday registered a case against a man who allegedly cheated a 75-year-old woman from the UK of a whopping Rs 7.5 crore. Yahiya Khalid, a native of Palluruthy, has been booked on a complaint filed by Penelope Koch from London. The complaint was filed on June 22 with the city police commissioner. However, the case was registered only after the elderly lady’s plight became news.

Yahiya has been slapped with charges relating to IPC Section 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), the Fort Kochi police told Onmanorama.

Koch, in her complaint, said she had transferred £720,000 (around Rs 7.5 crore) to help Yahiya’s family in 2014. He had promised to repay her within a short time. “But he simply cheated me of my life savings and I have been suffering both physically and mentally,” the complaint reads.

The elderly woman has made several trips to Fort Kochi over the past nine years in pursuit of her money. Now, she says she doesn’t even have the money to return. She is seeking authorities’ help to get her visa extended.

Koch lent the amount she made after selling her property in London. “In 2014 I was introduced to Yahiya Khalid through his friend Sunil Lal. Yahiya Khalid lured me into giving him money to help his family with a promise to pay me £2,000 per month profit rate. He claimed that my bank account transfers were sufficient to prove that I had loaned him the money. I transferred large amounts of money to his account from my bank account between October 2014 and May 2015. By November 2015, after funding the trust (for stray dogs) with only my own money, my funds ran out. After I had transferred the money to him, I received a letter from my bank (HSBC), to say they were closing my bank account. I was told that it was due to money laundering by Yahiya, which I knew nothing about at that time. I subsequently had to open up an account with a different bank,” Koch explains in the complaint.

She said she had many arguments with Yahiya over the non-repayment and he even threatened her not to inform the police. She said Yahiya often had excused like he was travelling abroad. He also told her he couldn’t send money out of the country due to money laundering rules.

She says the whole episode has even strained her relationship with her daughters, one of who died in 2021.

Koch, in her complaint, said Yahiya has cheated another British lady of Rs 23 lakh and she had also filed a court case against him.

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