Whenever media and entertainment investor, Oluwatoyin Subair decides to pen his memoir, it would surely be an interesting but poignant narration of a young man who daringly took on a mighty monopoly with his start-up but had his finger burnt. Subair’s story would serve as a lesson for any self-determined visionary out there who is building a start-up to take on the next vulnerable monopoly. His experience navigated the intersection between crony capitalism, patient capital and executive exuberance. But he’s not waiting for these experiences to be documented in paperback as he shared some during a chat in a television network. The man, founder of the defunct HiTV and now Executive Chairman of Digital Play Limited, has narrated how his name was placed on Interpol’s red alert notice for fraud and subsequently arrested multiple times in three different countries —United Arabs Emirate, United Kingdom and Italy— over false accusations of fraud.
Recounting his experience of a fake fraud accusation, Subair revealed the grisly details of how this led to his multiple arrests and a near dent on his name. “Many people who were angry with what I was doing and who disliked me did many bad things just to cripple me. Because of my involvement with HiTV, I was arrested multiple times in three different countries. I was arrested in Dubai, United Kingdom and Italy; all on the back of what happened with HiTV,” he said. “It took a while for them to realize that I was not a fraud. It also took the bank to come to the UK to say, ‘no, he did not defraud us’ for me to be released. Some people had created a document and said that I had defrauded the bank of $36 million, and that got my name on the red alert notice with Interpol. I have never taken anybody’s money before.”
Without realising that he was wanted for fraud, he had started plans with a tech company in the UK to start a new business in Africa. According to him, the trust invested in him by the UK company helped him recover from the series of attacks on his reputation. He was surprised when the Chairman of the tech company told him not to worry as the board had already approved the business. According to him, the plan of those who hated him was to totally destroy him, but the decision by his new UK partners helped his recovery from the travails.
It will be recalled that Subair after the appointment of a Receiver/Manager by GTBank over the assets of his HiTV gave up fighting and just rolled into a semi coma. He, at a point, left the country to cool off only to resurface in December 2018 to tie the knot with his Indian belle, Anita Gupta, and later poured his new found energy into his new venture, Digital Play Limited.