British-Indian businessman jailed for forging mother’s will


London, April 14

A 71-year-old Indian-origin businessman has been jailed for more than five years in the UK for forging his mother's will to inherit a 40 million-pound share of the family's palm oil plantation in Malaysia.

Girish Dahyabhai Patel from Highgate, north London, was sentenced for five-and-a-half years at Southwark Crown Court on Thursday after being privately prosecuted by his nephew, the Daily Mail reported.

Before this, Girish was jailed for a year in 2017 after his brother Yashwant claimed in court that he had used a blank sheet of paper with the deceased mother's signature and printed a document around it claiming she had left him a 40 million-pound stake in the family's 160-million-pound plantation.

The court found the document to be forged, and the inheritance went to Yashwant, a doctor in the US.

Girish had also lied under oath in a probate claim in the High Court and encouraged witnesses to give false evidence about the will, which was found to be worth 39.95 million pounds, or USD 50 million.

The mother, Prabhavati Dahyabhai Patel, had left her entire fortune for elder son Yashwant Patel after her death in 2011, according to the news report.

Girish was one of four brothers involved in the family's business interests, spread around countries, including in England, the US, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore.

The Southwark Crown Court also disqualified Girish from being a director for 10 years after pleading guilty to counts of fraud, forgery, perverting the course of justice and perjury between 2013 and 2015.

"Not only has there been a very serious impact on your family. You have lost your reputation, your status, your ability to carry on business and your wealth and income," Judge Marc Dight was quoted as saying in Daily Mail.

The court also heard that Girish's family has spent about 4.5 million pounds in litigation responding to his attempts to gain control of various family assets.

The fraud charge relates to Girish's attempts to take charge of a UK company, Barrowfen Properties, which held a single commercial property in Tooting, south London.

He removed his younger brother as a director of the firm before forging his resignation letter.

Mark Cotter KC, defending, said Girish had "dedicated his life" to his family, his children and the development of "an extremely successful global business".


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