6M fraudThe gold dealer who defrauded a local bank of a total of $956 million was on Monday slapped with six counts of fraud.Saddiqi Rasul, the owner of SSS Minerals Trading Inc, who was accused of committing fraud at the local commercial bank made his first appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, where he denied the charges.Saddiqi Rasul making his way to the prisoners holding dock after the charges being readThe prosecution is contending that Rasul changed six cheques for a total of $956 million at the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) between March 21 and 24, 2017. The cheques were in the sums of $290 million, $96 million, $138 million, $89 million, $298 million and $45 million.The incident became public on Thursday last and within a few hours, the suspect turned himself in to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters in the company of his lawyer.At the court on Monday, his lawyer, Sandil Kissoon, in a bail application, accused the Bank of negligence while noting that the Bank’s Manager did not follow protocol, a prerequisite of the Bank’s policy. The Bank’s Manager, however, is still on the run.On the other hand, Prosecutor Arvin Moore, in his objection to bail, informed the Court that the suspect may tamper with evidence and witnesses. Moore also noted that Rasul has a pending case for a similar offence.Rasul, a known fraudster, is believed to have robbed and conned several gold dealers of hundreds of millions of dollars. He presently has several lawsuits hanging over his head from clients that he took money from to purchase gold, but instead, fraudulently converted it to his own use.Since his arrest, members of the Major Crime Unit of the CID swopped down on several of the suspect’s offices and houses where they conducted searches, but came up empty-handed.The fraud was pulled off at GBTI’S office at Bartica. Based on reports received, Rasul deposited the money in cheques into his bank account at GBTI.The cheques were, however, from Citizens’ Bank, but the manager of GBTI went ahead and effect payment without the cheques being cleared.Guyana Times understands that several close associates of the suspect have arrested and have been assisting Police as the probe intensifies. One of those arrested is a worker at the office at Charity, Essequibo.Rasul will make his next court appearance on April 21 at the Bartica Magistrate’s Court.