Man not guilty of being illegal loan shark
A MAN accused of being an illegal loan shark has been found not guilty of charging his friend interest on a loan.
Karenpal Roth, aged 56, had denied illegally lending money and charging interest but admitted he had lent amounts between £100 and £5,000 to family and friends out of the “goodness of his heart”.
He went on trial at Swansea Magistrates’ Court.
Joanne James, for the prosecution, alleged Mr Roth had also threatened customers when they had not repaid him.
She said he had threatened Azad Miah and his wife Rina Begum when Mr Miah had not returned £3,000 which the prosecution claimed was interest racked up by Mr Miah because of a number of loans.
Under the Consumer Credit Act, only accredited people can lend money and charge interest – something Mr Roth was not.
Mr Miah said Mr Roth had threatened to hurt his family if he did not repay it.
The prosecution had searched Mr Roth’s home at Cefn Coed Crescent in Swansea and seized phones and paperwork which showed lists of numbers and names, they said those numbers were evidence of money lending - something Mr Roth disputed.
Mr Roth denied being engaged in an activity which required a licence when not a licensee.
He said he had lent money when he could to family and friends but denied he had ever charged interest or threatened anyone.
Mrs Begum gave evidence through an interpreter and said she had been at home on two occasions in 2012 where Mr Roth had come banging at the door asking to see her husband. She said she felt threatened by his actions.
When Mr Roth gave evidence, his solicitor, Simon Howell, asked: “Why would you lend it to people?” Mr Roth replied: “Because they would lend it to me.”
Mr Howell asked: “Why would these people borrow money?” Mr Roth replied: “Their business could be down, they could be out of a job, I have had people who needed money to pay bills.”
Mr Roth said he lent money from his businesses as a taxi driver and from his property rental income when he could.
He said he had himself borrowed money and both Mr Roth and Mr Miah had lent each other money when they needed it.
He said the pair had been friends since 1983 and regularly went to casinos together and said they were more like family than friends.
Mr Roth said on the two occasions Mrs Begum said she had seen him at her home, it was because Mr Miah had arranged for him to be there to repay £3,000 owed to him.
On the second occasion, in September last year, the police were called.
It was after that charges were brought.
In delivering their verdict of not guilty, magistrates said they could not be convinced Mr Roth was guilty. They said they found Mr Miah to be an unreliable witness.