Money from a collapsed New Jersey-based outsourcing firm has helped a business chum of girlie-magazine publisher Bob Guccione launch a $100 million offshore hedge fund, The Post has learned.
It's the latest — and oddest — twist yet in the fraud-drenched bankruptcy saga of North Brunswick, N.J.'s Allserve Systems Corp., which went belly up six weeks ago listing debts of $82 million and assets of barely $22 million.
Allserve had claimed to be a leader in the booming business of providing data processing "outsourcing" services to U.S. companies, using cheap foreign labor — mostly in India.
But a series of exclusive exposes in The Post revealed the Allserve empire to be an erector set of fraud, with a fugitive financier from India named Dinesh Dalmia secretly calling the shots.
Once regarded as one of the richest and politically well-connected businessmen in India, Dalmia has lately become a pariah in his home country, where he is wanted for questioning regarding his role in an array of securities frauds on the Calcutta Stock Exchange.
Now, Dalmia's apparent involvement in the unregulated and often shady world of offshore hedge funds have surfaced as well.
The fund in question, bearing the name India Deep Value Fund and run by a Florida-based associate of Dalmia's named Robin Rodriguez, was launched last autumn shortly after Rodriguez agreed to lend $6 million to a Dalmia-linked shell company, Debt Holding Inc., and received back a wire transfer from Allserve of $850,000.
Rodriguez declined to discuss any aspect of his own involvement with Dalmia.
As the head of a Wall Street investment firm called Anglo-American Investor Services Corp., Rodriguez racked up an array of regulatory sanctions and fines dating back to the late 1980s, with some developing as recently as 2002.
In 1996, he lent $5 million to a Mafia-connected penny stock called Holly Holdings Inc., which thereafter became a stock market plaything of the Bonanno, Colombo and Genovese crime families, leading to the arrest and conviction of 19 organized Brooklyn crime figures in 2000.
In 1997, Rodriguez arranged for a $14.5 million loan to General Media Corp. — publisher of Penthouse magazine — on the personal guarantee of Robert Guccione, the company's founder and chairman, who pledged his East 67th Street townhouse as collateral. Guccione is now in court fighting eviction by new owners of his company.
In 2004 Rodriguez provided $16.5 million in financing to enable a Dalmia-controlled affiliate company of Allserve's to put together a merger for itself with a Nasdaq-listed company on Wall Street.
His most recent largesse, a $6 million loan to Debt Holding Inc., raises a whole new set of disturbing questions, since Debt Holding is a year-old shell company that claims a 500-plus workforce with its headquarters in a Trenton, N.J. warehouse, leased since last June by Allserve.
Court papers show the warehouse to contain crated and unused computer equipment and nothing else.