Pandora Papers: From Gautam Singhania, Sachin Tendulkar To Anil Ambani, Here's What ED's Investigation Reveals About Owners Of Offshore Firms

Pandora Papers: From Gautam Singhania, Sachin Tendulkar To Anil Ambani, Here's What ED's Investigation Reveals About Owners Of Offshore Firms

The Pandora Papers refer to a massive leak of financial documents, involving over 11.9 million files, revealing the offshore financial activities of politicians, celebrities, and business leaders worldwide.

Rahul MUpdated: Monday, February 05, 2024, 05:36 PM IST
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Pandora Papers: What ED's Investigation Reveals About Owners Of Offshore Firms | AFP Photo

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), has initiated investigations into nearly all Indian proprietors of offshore companies mentioned in the 2021 Pandora Papers, as reported by The Indian Express. The ongoing actions by the ED in the Pandora Papers investigation encompass key elements such as recording statements, seizing assets, issuing summons for premises searches, obtaining information from Income Tax and RBI, and identifying money laundering violations, the report added.

As per the report, in the Pandora Papers, there are 380 persons listed as Indian owners of offshore firms including Gautam Singhania, Anil Ambani, Sachin Tendulkar, Niira Radia, Lalit Goyal, Harish Salve, Gaurav Burman, Dheeraj Wadhawan, Sanjay Chandra and several others.

The following is the list of some Indian names included in the ED investigation:

Gautam Singhania

Gautam Singhania, Raymond Limited's Chairman, acquired two BVI companies in 2008, namely Deras Worldwide Corporation and Lyndonville Holdings Limited.

An ongoing FEMA probe prompted an Egmont request to the BVI, RBI inquiries, and an Income Tax check for Black Money Act cases against the Singhania family. Three summonses were issued, recording statements from Gautam and his father, Vijaypat Singhania, who denied associations with Deras. Travel details for Gautam Singhania are requested from the Bureau of Immigration, as reported by The Indian Express.

Anil Ambani

ADA Group Chairman Anil Ambani and associates are linked to at least 18 offshore companies in Jersey, the British Virgin Islands, and Cyprus, established between 2007 and 2010. These companies engaged in borrowing and investing over USD 1.3 billion, reportedly guaranteed by Reliance/Anil Ambani.

The ED has sought details, issued directives to three Indian companies, and sent Egmont requests to FIU-BVI, Cyprus, and Jersey. Both Anil Ambani and his wife Tina Ambani have been summoned, with their statements recorded at the ED's Mumbai office under FEMA provisions, as per The Indian Express report.

Sachin Tendulkar

According to the Pandora files, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his family were identified as beneficial owners of the BVI company, Saas International Limited. The records classify the Tendulkar family as PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons), given Sachin's status as a former Member of Parliament.

The ED has invoked FEMA, requested ITR details from the Income Tax department, and sent an Egmont request to the BVI's financial intelligence unit for further investigation, the Indian Express report added.

Gaurav Burman

As per the Pandora files, Gaurav Burman provided a USD 2 million loan to BVI company Bantree International Ltd for its Mauritian subsidiary, Colway Investments Ltd. This subsidiary reportedly held shares in KPH Dream Cricket, owners of the IPL team Kings XI Punjab.

In the ongoing probe, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sent Egmont requests to Mauritius and BVI, issued summons to KPH Dream Cricket Private Ltd. Bank records revealed payments of Rs 4.67 crore to a third party without a tripartite agreement. The statement of Mohit Burman, a director of KPH, has been recorded. Voluminous forex transactions are also under scrutiny for potential FEMA violations, according to The Indian Express.

Harish Salve

As per the Pandora Papers, former solicitor-general of India, Harish Salve, acquired the Marsul Company in the BVI in 2015 for ownership of a property in London.

An Egmont request has been submitted to FIU-BVI, and requests have been made to IT authorities for information on Salve's returns related to Marsul, as reported by an English daily.

Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan

Promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, incarcerated for over three years for an Rs 88,000 crore bank fraud, established numerous offshore entities, primarily in the BVI and the Bahamas. The key BVI entity, V&M Aviation, entered into an agreement with Credit Suisse for a USD 22.65 million loan, used to purchase a Bombardier Challenger aircraft.

In the ongoing PMLA probe, Egmont requests were sent to the BVI, UAE, Bahamas, and Switzerland, with responses currently under analysis. Properties valued at Rs 2,013.08 crore belonging to the Wadhawan brothers have been attached since the inception of the PMLA probe, covering foreign properties and investments, as per The Indian Express.

Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh

According to the Pandora's files, former Ranbaxy promoters Shivinder Singh and Malvinder Singh established two offshore firms in the BVI in 2009. In 2019, the Singh brothers were arrested and charged with money laundering and fraud. Shivinder mortgaged Forthill's properties to borrow 5.1 million pounds from Barclays Bank.

The ED has reportedly frozen a bank account of Malvinder Singh in Singapore, where "proceeds" were credited, as per an Indian Express report. Additionally, the ED is investigating the alleged transfer of Shivinder Singh and his wife Aditi Singh's property to conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar.

Niira Radia

The Pandora files exposed that Niira Radia purportedly established approximately twelve offshore entities, revealing substantial financial transactions through records, including emails designating her as a "do not contact" client. The ED has confiscated the data and forwarded it for analysis. As part of the investigation, the probe agency has also recorded the statement of Radia’s sister, Karuna Menon, the report added.

John McMallum Marshall Shaw

As per the Pandora files, John McMallum Marshall Shaw, a UK citizen and the late husband of Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, held a 99 percent ownership in Mauritius-based Glentec International. The company established the Deanstone Trust in New Zealand in 2015. Following John's passing in 2022, the ED has taken action under FEMA provisions. The ED issued inquiry letters to SEBI, IT, and RBI, receiving partial responses. Additionally, Egmont requests have been sent to New Zealand and Mauritius as part of the ongoing investigation.

Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty

The Pandora files claimed that businessman Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, detained in Bengaluru in 2020 for non-payment of loans to multiple banks, had established an intricate offshore company network in Jersey and BVI. In December 2022, the ED recorded statements from Shetty and his top executives, alleging FEMA violations amounting to Rs 1,22.49 crore, as reported by The Indian Express.

What is Pandora Papers?

The Pandora Papers refer to a massive leak of financial documents, involving over 11.9 million files, revealing the offshore financial activities of politicians, celebrities, and business leaders worldwide. These documents, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), expose the use of tax havens and complex financial structures to hide wealth, potentially facilitating tax evasion and other financial improprieties. The Pandora Papers leak, like previous leaks such as the Panama Papers, has sparked investigations and discussions about global financial transparency and accountability.

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