Updated: November 12, 2021 12:00:56 pm
The Enforcement Directorate Thursday detained Lalit Goyal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Ireo Group, and is questioning him in a case of money laundering and diversion of funds of investors.
While the ED has been probing a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violation case against the company since 2010, sources said Goyal was being questioned in connection with a case registered by the agency at its Chandigarh branch.
Sources said Goyal was detained by immigration authorities at the Delhi International Airport early Thursday when he was boarding a flight to go abroad. The detention was made based on a lookout circular opened against him.
“An LoC had been opened against him. He was detained at the airport, and we were informed. We are now questioning him in connection with our Chandigarh case. Appropriate action will be taken after the questioning is over,” an ED official told The Indian Express.
A report published in The Indian Express on October 12 had revealed that Goyal had moved US $77 million to offshore Trusts even as homebuyers and investors had approached authorities and courts against the company for return of their money.
According to revelations in the Pandora Papers investigation, Goyal, whose sister is married to BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, had moved assets, investments, and shareholdings, worth an estimated $77 million, to an offshore trust structure which included four entities registered in the British Virgin Islands much before the group got into trouble.
Internal documents of Trident Trust, a global corporate services company, showed that Goyal, who had a Singapore address, set up the Oak Veneer Trust in tax haven Guernsey with Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) Ltd as a trustee. He is named as the ‘Settlor’ — one who sets up or authors the trust — of Oak Veneer Trust. He and Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) Ltd – by virtue of it being a trustee of Oak Veneer – are the ‘Beneficial Owners’ of the four offshore entities, all of which were acquired either to hold property, shareholdings and investments, or to be an ‘investment vehicle’.
Responding to the October 12 report of The Indian Express on behalf of Goyal, Sasttra Legal, Advocates and Solicitors, said he is a Non-Resident Indian as per the latest assessment filed with Indian tax authorities. “It is reiterated that all investments made by Mr Lalit Goyal are legitimate and no monies from homebuyers have either been invested or ‘illegally siphoned’ off,” the law firm said.