Gautam Khaitan, Delhi-based lawyer and the first person to be arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on September 23, 2014, for allegedly laundering bribe money in the AgustaWestland deal, also finds mention in the Panama Papers.
Khaitan, who was on the board of Aeromatrix, provided a reference letter in favour of Navin Mehra, son of Mehrasons Jewellers owner Ashwani Kumar Mehra. Navin Mehra was a director in two offshore entities registered by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.
In a March 2, 2013, letter to Waterman Trust Company Limited, registered in Isle of Man, Khaitan, lawyer, in O P Khaitan & Co. Solicitors & Advocates, said, “We hereby confirm that Mr Navin Mehra is personally known to us and has been our client for more than the last 10 years.”
This letter was stamped as received by Mossack Fonseca. As was Khaitan’s certified copy of Navin Mehra’s passport.
Records investigated by The Indian Express in the Mossack Fonseca files mention the address of Gautam Khaitan as Khaitan House, B-1, Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024.
The registered address of Aeromatrix Info Solutions Private Limited, in which Khaitan was a director, along with Guido Ralph Haschke, an alleged middleman in the Finmeccanica deal whose statements and documents are at the heart of the case, was also stated as B-1, Defence Colony, New Delhi 110024, according to Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
Aeromatrix was incorporated in 2009 and its last reported Annual General Meeting was in September 2012.
Khaitan resigned from the Aeromatrix board after allegations surfaced against the company in 2012.
The letter signed by Khaitan, further states, “We also confirm that the present residential address of Mr Navin Mehra is as follows: Mr Navin Mehra, S-283, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017.” Attached along with this reference letter were a copy of Navin Mehra’s passport and a copy of his Kotak Mahindra Bank statement for the period October 1, 2012 to December 31, 2012.
When The Indian Express had contacted Deepak Mehra of Mehrasons Jewellers on the family members’ offshore entities, he had said, “Yes, me and my family members are/were shareholders of the two offshore companies named Stonebay International Limited and Maxhill Holdings Ltd. These two companies were incorporated sometime in 2010 under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS). We have remitted all funds into these companies from India through normal banking channels as permitted by law under the LRS. These two companies have been duly declared to tax authorities and shown in the Income Tax returns of all members. We have, however, no shareholding or hold any other position in any other companies mentioned by you.”
Despite repeated attempts, Khaitan was not available for comment. Arrested in September 2014, Khaitan was granted bail on January 9, 2015.