Paradise Papers: Second largest company in Appleby files is Khemka’s SUN, with 100 plus firms

While Nand Lal Khemka is shown as beneficiary or “officer” for 17 of these entities, one of his sons Shiv Vikram is shown as the “officer” of 104 entities and another, Uday Harsh Khemka, the “officer” for 102 offshore entities.

Written by Ritu Sarin | New Delhi | Updated: November 7, 2017 7:04 am
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The Indian business family with the largest number of offshore entities in Appleby records are the Khemkas of the SUN group — with their firms having major interests in Russia, principally in the mining, aerospace and infrastructure sectors. Records investigated by The Indian Express show that the family, led by Nand Lal Khemka, has registered nearly 100 entities mostly in the British Virgin Islands and New Jersey.

While Nand Lal Khemka is shown as beneficiary or “officer” for 17 of these entities, one of his sons Shiv Vikram is shown as the “officer” of 104 entities and another, Uday Harsh Khemka, the “officer” for 102 offshore entities. Appleby has listed Khemka, along with his two sons and their flagship foundation — The Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation — as PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons).

In the PEP lists, Nand Lal Khemka, married to Jeet, is described as a “diplomat” since he was former Consul General for Jamaica and Iceland in India. Records show that the Nand and Jeet Foundation has its registered address in St Heller, Jersey, and the Appleby Trust, with five accounts in Barclays Private Clients International Limited Bank and Deutsche Bank, is listed in Jersey.

The beneficiaries of the Foundation are listed as Hope Charitable Trust; the Prince of Wales Business Leaders Forum; Charities Aid Foundation of India; the PKC Charitable Trust, registered in Bermuda, and, through it, Berkeleys Philanthropies Limited. Nand Lal Khemka is listed as having an address in Switzerland and shown to be linked with many Appleby entities including: SUN Energy (international) Limited; SUN Energy Resources Limited; SUN Securities Limited; SUN Trade (International) Limited; Tactitus Limited; The Angus Trust; The Ashoka Trust; the Chekov Unit Trust; the Dallila Trust; the Thyra Moller Trust; the PKC Charitable Trust and, the Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation.

Records of “risk rating” lists show that Appleby mentioned the reasons why the Khemka family has been assessed as “high risk” or “medium risk” among its clients, at least until 2014. At a meeting in March 2009, many objections or observations were made by Appleby related to as many as 47 entries for Nand Lal Khemka and his entities.

In one, for instance, there is an entry of how Nand Lal Khemka has “the potential of purchasing a yacht”. Other key findings, from records examined by The Indian Express, are:  A GBP (British Pounds) 600,000 “distribution” to University of Pennsylvania from the Foundation with a request from Appleby for Nand Lal Khemka and the representative of the Trust to provide a “detailed report” on how the funds are used.

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“Distribution” of an undisclosed sum to University of Cambridge which is referred to Appleby’s compliance Department for verification.

A 2007 remittance of $18 million to Nand Lal Khemka for purchase of a property in India. Appleby states that it needs valuation reports, reports from lawyers and copies of the tax advice — a noting states that this remittance should be listed in the “exception register”.

A separate compliance report mentions the purchase of apartments in Qatar with a clarification that the purchase was done from personal funds of the family.

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A GBP 53,439 donation by Nand and Jeet Foundation to the Climate Group in 2007. Donations made to the Earth Love Movement Foundation. There is mention of a final $50,000 payment through an escrow account — Appleby states that this is not a typical “donation” but an expense — and the Wharton Global Alumni Forum.

A transfer of GBP 12.5 million to Nand Lal Khemka Khemka from the Dallila Unit Trust and Dallila Limited.

A query regarding the transfer of EUR 2.4 million for the “purchase of art”. Appleby officials are asked to contact the art company and confirm the price. One Appleby note states that the seller has confirmed the sale of art and amount but another note later says the amount invoiced was incorrect and adds that the seller mentioned that the exact amount depends on the profit eventually made.

The Foundation made a donation of $754, 519 to the Teachers College of Columbia University.

One of the few donations related to an Indian organisation by the Nand and Jeet Foundation is a $4.34 million payment given to the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) with a note to determine who is the controller of the charity. Later, a note states that this payment was not made and would not be made from this “structure.”

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Two donations totalling GBP 500,000 made by the Foundation to the Moscow School of Management.

While several companies incorporated by the Khemkas with Appleby go back many years, it is evident the relationship is still active. On March 3, 2015, Appleby wrote a letter to Nand Lal Khemka at his address in Switzerland asking him to sign a revised format of appointment for all companies in which he was a director.

There are also payment reminders sent by Appleby to the SUN Capital Partner Group and the Nand and Jeet Foundation. One reminder dated December 15, 2015 lists 13 overdue payments with a total amount of GBP 65,800 due to Appleby. The note sent with Appleby’s catalogue of invoices states that several previous reminders have been sent and that interest on all pending payments will be added.
The Khemkas are known to maintain a low profile. Nand Lal Khemka, 82, still serves as chairman of Indag Rubber Limited and is a partner at SUN Capital Partners. He is considered to have laid the foundation of all operations with the Former Soviet Union (FSU) in 1958. In every company profile, the business relationship between the Khemkas and the FSU is emphasised. The SUN Group is stated to be a principal investor and private equity fund manager in Russia/ FSU in the energy/mining and real estate sectors.

EXPLAINED: Why the Paradise Papers matter

Indag Rubber, a company listed in India has a market capitalisation of over Rs 550 crore. The company clocked a revenue of Rs 183.9 crore in the year ended March 2017 as against a revenue of Rs 253 crore in the previous year. The Nand and Jeet Foundation is located in Saket in New Delhi with Uday Nabha Khemka, Vice Chairman of the Sun Group, listed as Managing Trustee of the Family’s charitable trusts. The Foundation’s focus areas are described as social entrepreneurship; leadership and ethics; climate change and governance & accountability.

Response from Nand Lal Khemka:

“My sons Shiv and Uday have been NRIs for over 35 years. SUN Group is a private investment group which was founded by them over 30 years ago and has been working across the globe since that time. SUN has made many separate investments using specific corporate vehicles over these years. As a global group owned by shareholders who have been NRIs since well before incorporation of the group, the question of RBI permissions, etc., with respect to the establishment and jurisdiction of the group does not arise.

“I have also been an NRI for many years and we follow and comply with all related laws and required disclosures, including paying our taxes in countries where we operate. For clarification and accuracy, The Nand and Jeet Khemka Foundation has indeed been a supporter of philanthropic causes according to its charter, but is in no way whatsoever involved in the purchase of properties and art. Any such purchases have been made with personal funds.”

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