London

'Loan shark made £500,000' from Sri Lankan community

A loan shark running an unlawful money-lending business in east London received more than £500,000 in illegal interest payments, a court has heard.

Kanadasaba Nadarajah, 68, from East Ham, is accused of offering more than 700 illegal loans from 2003 to 2010.

Jurors were told the loans were offered to members of the Sri Lankan community living in London and the South East.

Mr Nadarajah denies one count of illegal money-lending and one count of acquiring criminal property.

His alleged accomplice Veluppillai Jegendirabose, 62, from Ilford, east London, who is accused of helping organise one of the loans, denies one count of illegal money-lending.

'Dire straits'

Vivian Walters, prosecuting, told Inner London Crown Court that Mr Nadarajah would demand family jewellery from loanees as security which he would sell if they failed to pay the interest demanded.

"Loan sharks are those who operate businesses who lend money to people without a credit licence," said Miss Walters.

"Loan sharks prey on some of the most vulnerable people in society.

"The prosecution case is that Mr Nadarajah has been operating as a loan shark for many years."

The court heard that people would go to Mr Nadarajah when they were in dire straits.

One man asked for a loan after falling into arrears on his mortgage, while a woman asked for cash so she could return to Sri Lanka for her father's funeral.

Miss Walters told the jury: "The majority if not the totality of borrowers are members of the Sri Lankan community whose only form of asset is family jewellery."

The court heard was told that the illegal business was discovered after a loanee complained to the London Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) about how the loan was being conducted.

The trial has been adjourned until Tuesday.

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