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Owners of Radico Khaitan, manufacturer of IMFL, have their assets in offshore trusts

The Register of Directors of Beecool Global Holdings Limited states that ever since September 4, 2012, the Timberlane Trust held 50,000 ordinary shares of USD1 each of Beecool Global Holdings Limited.

Written by Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi |
Updated: October 6, 2021 8:05:47 pm
Lalit Khaitan and Abhishek Khaitan

Lalit Khaitan and his family, owners of Radico Khaitan, manufacturer of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), have their assets in offshore trusts, the Pandora Papers show.

According to documents of the Trident Trust, British Virgin Islands, a trust deed for Timberlane Trust was settled between Timberlane Group Foundation, Panama (settlor), and Trident Trust, BVI (trustee), in 2012.

The deed mentions Lalit Khaitan and Abhishek Khaitan as “beneficiaries” of the trust. Lalit is Chairman and Managing Director of Radico Khaitan Limited and his son Abhishek is its Managing Director.

The Timberlane Trust deed declares “50,000 shares of USD 1 in the company Beecool Global Holdings Limited” as its “Trust Fund”.

The Timberlane Group Foundation was established in Panama on October 3, 2012, and Beecool Global Holdings Limited was incorporated in BVI on April 26, 2012.

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The Register of Directors of Beecool Global Holdings Limited states that ever since September 4, 2012, the Timberlane Trust held 50,000 ordinary shares of USD1 each of Beecool Global Holdings Limited.

On September 3, 2012, Lalit Khaitan signed an “Affidavit of Good Standing” to Trident Trust. Later, these shares were transferred to Lalit and Abhishek, data shows. In fact, respective share transfer forms dated October 30, 2013, state that Trident Trust (BVI), as trustee of The Timberlane Trust, transferred 25,000 shares of Beecool Global Holdings Limited to Lalit Khaitan and 25,000 shares to Abhishek Khaitan “for valuable considerations received”.

A Declaration of Agent dated October 5, 2012, states that Ultimate S.A., a company constituted according to laws of the Island of Nevis, acted as Fiduciary Founder of the Timberlane Group Foundation. This declaration was signed by one Martha Salazar, a Panamanian citizen and director of the Ultimate S.A.

A letter of 2012 by Timberlane Foundation to Trident Trust regarding Timberlane Trust mentions the role of law firm OP Khaitan & Co. as it writes and advises that “until further notice, future correspondence regarding the Trust should be forwarded” to the email of Gautam Khaitan, owner of the law firm.

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Documents on Radico Khaitan show that Ashutosh Patra, a senior partner in OP Khaitan & Co., was appointed as independent director of the company from September 30, 2014, for a period of five years.

Lalit and Abhishek, according to the records, had formed another trust earlier but that was revoked after over a year. In fact, A Deed of Revocation of the Pinnacle Trust, available in the data from Alcogal, states that in December 2006, Lalit Khaitan and Abhishek Khaitan “revoked” the settlement dated September 12, 2005, about Pinnacle Trust “in its entirety”.

A “letter of wishes” related to Timberlane Trust notes Lalit and Abhishek as “first beneficiaries” and also has a detailed explanation on who among others — Abhishek’s wife Deepshikha Khaitan, their son Shivraj Khaitan, daughter Devika Khaitan, and Smitha Mandelia, and Shailja Saraf — will get what after them. It also notes that “in the event of none of the beneficiaries mentioned” and “none of them have any children and/or legal heirs”, the fund shall be “distributed 100 per cent to a Cancer Research Institute in India at the sole discretion of the Trustees of the Trust.”

Email exchanges between officials of the Trident Trust show they may have moved their assets later from the Timberlane Trust as well.

On March 17, 2015, Warren R Luyt, Managing Director of Trident Trust, BVI, wrote to his colleague Donnette Matthew about three trusts including the Timberlane Trust: “Please check the extensive correspondence on these trusts. The bank has closed, the clients have disappeared, the bankers are not willing to assist. Please do whatever you have to close the Trusts and write off the fees.”

The Indian Express sought comments from Lalit Khaitan and Abhishek Khaitan on their interests in the offshore entities and whether they had declared these to Income Tax authorities. In response, Dinesh Kumar Gupta, Vice-President, Legal, Radico Khaitan, said: “Neither Radico Khaitan Ltd nor the Khaitan family have or had any illegitimate bank accounts or trusts anywhere in the world. We have followed all applicable laws & regulations of the country.”

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