Mystery BVI firm under scan for Aircel Maxis and Panama probe

Probing the Aircel Maxis case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sent a Letter Rogatory to Singapore this March for details on Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Advantage (India).

Written by Jay Mazoomdaar | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2016 8:48 am
Panama Papers, Panama, Panama papers india, Karti Chidambaram, aircel maxis deal, Karti Chidambaram ed case, Karti Chidambaram panama papers link, aircel maxis deal panama papers, india news, indian express, latest news During the same period, it also invested 2.4 million pounds in a Singapore company which is a subsidiary of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited where Karti Chidambaram held a majority stake before exiting in 2012.

INVESTMENTS made by a mystery company set up in tax haven British Virgin Islands (BVI) are now the subject of scrutiny in two official investigations, in the Aircel Maxis case and the Panama Papers probe.

In 2013-2014, Unison Global Investment Limited, the BVI company, invested 1.08 million pounds in two Jersey companies owned or controlled ultimately by Indiabulls promoter Sameer Gehlaut.

During the same period, it also invested 2.4 million pounds in a Singapore company which is a subsidiary of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited where Karti Chidambaram held a majority stake before exiting in 2012.

Probing the Aircel Maxis case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sent a Letter Rogatory to Singapore this March for details on Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Advantage (India).

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

A multi-agency committee appointed on the instructions of the Prime Minister, which includes Income Tax, RBI, ED and the Financial Intelligence Unit, is scrutinising details of all those named in the Panama Papers. At least two queries have been sent out to all those named and the RBI has asked each to furnish details of all remittances made overseas under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS).

Set up in December 2012, Unison Global Investment Limited is among the companies listed by ED whose links with Advantage (Singapore) are being investigated.

On December 15, 2014, according to Singapore registry records obtained by The Indian Express, Unison (BVI) was allotted 49,00,000 preference shares by Advantage (Singapore) for about 2.4 million pounds.

Watch | Full coverage of Panama Papers

Records of this transaction list Unison (BVI) with a Singapore address (08-21 Peninsula Plaza) but identify the company as “Foreign Entity not registered with ACRA (Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority)”.

Records of bank transactions made by Unison in Advantage (Singapore) had the company’s BVI address: OMC Chambers, Wickhams Cay 1, Road Town, Tortola. This, according to BVI registry records, was Unison’s registered address until July 2014 when the company changed its address to PO Box 116, Road Town, Tortola.

Responding on behalf of Advantage Strategic Consulting Private Limited (India), a spokesperson said in an email: “All our transactions are reflected in our books. We are not aware of any unrelated third parties or transactions amongst them.”

When contacted, Karti Chidambaram said in an email: “I am neither a shareholder nor director of Advantage Strategic Consulting. I am not aware of any transactional details of the said companies.”

During 2010-2011, Ausbridge Holdings and Investments Pvt Ltd had bought 200,000 shares — amounting to a 66% equity stake — in Advantage Strategic. The 2011 annual return of Ausbridge Holdings shows that Karti Chidambaram owned 18,000 of the total 19,000 shares — 95% stake — in the company. In March 2012, Karti quit the directorship of Ausbridge and divested his stake.

Investigating the Aircel-Maxis scam, officials from the ED and the Income Tax department searched the offices of Karti Chidambaram in December 2015.

On March 7, former Home and Finance Minister P Chidambaram issued a statement on behalf of his family. “Karti runs a legitimate business, apart from managing inherited property. He has been an income tax assessee for many years. He has no undisclosed asset anywhere. If the Government is of the view that Mr Karti Chidambaram has undisclosed assets, I would ask the Government to make a list of such alleged undisclosed assets. Mr Karti Chidambaram will voluntarily execute any document necessary to transfer those assets (allegedly undisclosed) to the Government for a nominal consideration of Rupee 1,” it stated.

Besides investing in Advantage (Singapore), Unison (BVI) also invested 1.08 million pounds in three transactions between 2012 and 2014 to pick up 3,30,000 shares at 1 pound each and 7,50,000 shares at 1 pound each in two Jersey companies Clivedale Properties Limited and Four Leaf Limited respectively, according to annual returns filed by the Jersey companies.

According to Mossack Fonseca records that are part of the Panama Papers investigated by The Indian Express, these two Jersey companies belong to Clivedale Overseas Limited (Bahamas), owned by Sameer Gehlaut, the promoter of the Indiabulls Group, through a family trust.

Said Suresh Jain, responding on behalf of Sameer Gehlaut, in an email: “Unison is owned by family office of a foreign national. Unison has made private equity investment of 11% in Clivedale Properties Ltd., that is undertaking development project — Mansion at 9 Marylebone Lane. We are bound by confidentiality clause in the agreement of investment.”

Panama

According to records obtained from the BVI registry by The Indian Express, Unison (BVI) also entered into an agreement “in relation to the capital of Clivedale Properties” with HSBC Bank plc (London) in December 2014 and pledged its 3,30,000 shares of Clivedale Properties as collateral.

And in December 2015, Unison (BVI) entered into another agreement with Qatar National Bank SAQ (London) for the development of 4, 5, 6 Stanhope Gate and 18A and 18B Curzon Street, London, the Mayfair Park properties owned and being developed by Clivedale Overseas (Bahamas) through its subsidiaries. The secured liabilities were the Four Leaf’s 7,50,000 shares held by Unison (BVI).

 

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Asma
    May 16, 2016 at 9:25 am
    Sizeable percentage off of 2G scam ?
    Reply
    1. G
      Gautam Goswami
      May 16, 2016 at 10:08 am
      beware of club mahindra holiday ads,they are cheats
      Reply
      1. H
        H.Balakrishnan
        May 16, 2016 at 4:01 am
        The CBI and the ED will KEEP ON INVESTIGATING ad infinitum.Kkeep n sending LETTER ROGATORIES. Nothing else will happen . The 2G Special Court, with orders from the SC to have 'daily sittings, no adjournments' and only Sundays and Public Holidays as Off Days for the Court, is yet to PRONOUNCE ITS VERDICT IN THE 2G SCAM. This is MERA BHARAT MAHAN. Nothing happens. The Judicial System is DEAD. And yet the CJI wants to increase the judges - for a system in the ICU !! God save the Nation.
        Reply
        1. K
          kulaputra kulaputra
          May 16, 2016 at 1:13 am
          Investigation must get completed and if found guilty, Karti and PC must be handed out exemplary punishment, additional sentence for arrogance, besides seizing of all ets created by bribes. Will our judiciary and evidence gatherers stand upto this test ?
          Reply
          1. L
            Lalu
            May 16, 2016 at 7:39 am
            Basically the former Fin Min is an AH.
            Reply
            1. H
              HILARY
              May 16, 2016 at 6:03 am
              An incompetent Justice delivery system that includes the judiciary and the investigating agencies will ensure that nothing happens.
              Reply
              1. S
                s b
                May 16, 2016 at 1:04 am
                This Chiddi's son is not a innocent boy, and neither his father is. Money not earned, but credited to their account's on foolish names and reasons. As former F M,he also did not leave a leaf un-turned in making money, while the sun shines. Action based on correct facts should be initiated and the guilty punished.
                Reply
                1. S
                  Shiva
                  May 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm
                  Inordinate delay in verdicts and conviction (see the case of 2G, NO CONVICTION IN SIGHT), Judiciary is not even ready to disclose the status of cases pending coupled with Incompetent investigation machinery (ED,CBI and what not) , every political criminal in this country will go Scot free... No accountability
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments