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Thursday, Sep 29, 2022

ED files prosecution complaint against Amnesty India in money laundering case

The ED case is based on a CBI FIR against Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd, Indians for Amnesty International Trust and Amnesty International India Foundation Trust and others.

Govt treating rights groups like criminals, says AmnestyA man enters the building which houses Amnesty International office in Bangalore, India, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

A day after the adjudicating authority of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) upheld imposing a penalty of over Rs 61 crore against Amnesty India and its former head Aakar Patel, the central agency said it has filed a prosecution complaint against the organisation for alleged money laundering in a separate case.

“Directorate of Enforcement (ED) filed a prosecution complaint under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) against M/s Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd (AIIPL), M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust (IAIT) and others in a money laundering case,” the ED said in a statement.

The ED case is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) FIR against AIIPL, IAIT, Amnesty International India Foundation Trust (AIIFT) and others under Section 120(B) of the Indian Penal Code and sections 11, 35 and 39 of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010. The CBI filed a chargesheet in this case last December. It was based on this case that Patel was prevented from flying to the US to deliver a series of lectures in April over a CBI lookout circular.

According to the ED, in 2011-12, AIIFT had been granted permission under the FCRA for receiving foreign contributions from Amnesty International UK. The permission/registration was subsequently revoked on the basis of adverse inputs received, the ED said.

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Subsequently, the agency said, two new entities, AIIPL and IAIT, were formed in the year 2013-14 and 2012-13 respectively to “escape the FCRA route and received forex in the guise of service export and FDI”.

The agency has said that its probe revealed that after AIIFT’s FCRA licence was cancelled, “a new method was adopted by Amnesty entities to receive money from abroad as M/s. Amnesty International, UK sent Rs 51.72 crore to AIIPL in the guise of Export of Services and Foreign Direct Investment”.

The agency has said that for export proceeds/advances received for export of services to Amnesty International UK, there was no documentary proof such as invoices and copies of the agreement between AIIPL and Amnesty International UK and the same has not been furnished by AIIPL to the authorized dealer (AD) banks.

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“M/s. Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and others have committed scheduled offence by claiming to be carrying out “civil society work”, however receiving forex in a profit making company, thereby mis-utilising the FDI, which to amply proved by absence of any details/documents relating to exports made and layering of remittances received by AIIPL, a company into M/s. IAIT, a charitable trust. In this case, both the entities have acquired proceeds of crime and layered the same in the form of various movable properties,” the ED statement said.

In this case, ED has already issued two provisional attachment orders for the attachment of movable properties worth Rs 19.54 crore and the same has been confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority (PMLA), New Delhi.

“In light of the above, a prosecution complaint has been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 against M/s. Amnesty International India Pvt Ltd and others in the court of principal city civil and sessions judge, Bengaluru City, Bengaluru. The said complaint has been taken into cognizance by the said special PMLA court and the summons have been issued to all accused for their appearance before the court,” the ED said.

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An email sent to Amnesty International has not elicited any response.

First published on: 09-07-2022 at 05:25:22 pm
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