An accountant previously found liable for misappropriating around $3 million of Deep Purple’s money has been jailed for the theft.

Dipak Rao worked for two companies run by the band from 1992 to 2014, reaching director level in both during the ‘00s, and in 2017 was identified as having diverted “at least £2 million” from their accounts into his own. Rao admitted to “borrowing” the cash and faced an 11-year disqualification from serving as a company director.

In a new report, SurreyLive said that Rao, 71, had invested the money but lost it all because the schemes turned out to be scams. He was sentenced to six years and four months in jail at Guildford Crown Court, and will serve at least half of the term before being released. He was reported to have lost his home and assets as a result of his activities, totaling approximately $1 million. The band was said to have recovered no more of the lost income.

The thefts came to light following the death of Tony Edwards, who managed Deep Purple since their early days, in 2010. His two children inherited parts of the band business, and became suspicious that Rao was concealing information. Legal action was launched after he left the companies, which were recently liquidated.

“The stress that we have been under during this time is immeasurable,” said Edwards’ daughter, Abigail Flanigan. “He has devastated the legacy that my father spent his life building. This devastation was brought about by a man that we had known for years and trusted.”

Rao’s lawyer argued that his client had not used the money to live a lavish lifestyle, but instead had been trapped in a cycle of continued offending as he tried to recover the money he’d lost. Describing Rao’s behavior as a “moment of madness that kick-started this entire awful affair,” he noted, "His conduct is most accurately and fairly seen as the conduct of a foolish man who got out of his depth.”

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