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Friday, July 20, 2018

Panama Papers: Month after expose, Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi quit Bahamas company

Panama Papers: In an email to Mossack Fonseca (Bahamas), new records show, Madhok wrote: “...attached are letters of resignation as directors of J&W Inc. of Mr P R S Oberoi and myself. Please arrange for this to be processed as soon as possible.”

Written by Jay Mazoomdaar | New Delhi | Updated: June 22, 2018 1:26:47 am
Panama Papers: Month after expose, Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi quit Bahamas company Panama Papers: According to the records, before he resigned, Madhok appointed Singapore-based Tang Boon Tec as the director of J&W Inc (Bahamas). Boon Tec also recorded himself as the beneficial owner of J&W Inc through his Hong Kong company.

Barely a month after The Indian Express reported that Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi and Deepak Madhok of the Oberoi Group were directors of a Bahamas company since November 2006, both resigned from the offshore entity on May 20, 2016.

In an email to Mossack Fonseca (Bahamas), new records show, Madhok wrote: “…attached are letters of resignation as directors of J&W Inc. of Mr P R S Oberoi and myself. Please arrange for this to be processed as soon as possible.”

RELATED REPORT | Missing from Oberoi stable: A firm each in the Bahamas, Hong Kong

According to the records, before he resigned, Madhok appointed Singapore-based Tang Boon Tec as the director of J&W Inc (Bahamas). Boon Tec also recorded himself as the beneficial owner of J&W Inc through his Hong Kong company.

Panama Papers: Click for full coverage

Madhok also replaced himself as administrator of J&W Inc with Boon Tec who wrote to Mossack Fonseca in September 2016 for liquidation of the company. When Mossack Fonseca billed the Oberoi Group before initiating the 45-day liquidation process in October 2016, Boon Tec, records show, had them change the invoice and bill him at his Singapore address. Again in November 2016, Mossack Fonseca billed Madhok the annual fee for J&W Inc.

Panama Papers: Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi’s resignation letter dated May 20, 2016.

Meanwhile, on August 15, 2016, following a request from India, the Bahamas Ministry of Finance sought documents of J&W Inc pertaining to P R S Oberoi from Mossack Fonseca. In April 2017, an internal communication noted that Mossack Fonseca (Bahamas) sought help from its headquarters in Panama to assist with the missing information before handing over details to the regulating authorities.

Documents available with Mossack Fonseca (Bahamas) for sharing with the regulator included J&W Inc’s register of directors which had both Oberoi and Madhok in it, and the share register which showed Hong Kong’s Peran Limited as the sole shareholder since November 2006.

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In 2010, the Oberoi Group announced it had acquired 45.8 per cent stake from Amex Investment Ltd (Hong Kong) in their joint venture EIH Holdings Ltd (British Virgin Islands) that manages and invests in hotels outside India. The deal was struck through EIH International Ltd (BVI) for US $45 million. What was not made public was the acquisition of another joint venture with Amex — J&W Inc (Bahamas) — by Peran Ltd in 2010. While J&W Inc (Bahamas) had P R S Oberoi and Deepak Madhok as directors since 2006, Pathmanaban Selvadurai of the Oberoi Group was director of Peran Ltd. Records also showed that Peran Ltd’s original certificate of J&W Inc shares was sent to Sudarshan Rao, vice-president (finance) of the Oberoi Group, in 2011.

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In April 2016, The Indian Express reported that while the EIH Ltd, the flagship company of the Oberoi Group, did not include J&W Inc (Bahamas) on the list of its many subsidiaries, it did include a similarly named company: J&W Hong Kong Ltd. The company was incorporated in Hong Kong on September 26, 2006, a couple of months before the Oberoi Group entered J&W Inc (Bahamas).

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Amex had stake in J&W Hong Kong Ltd which, soon after incorporation, bought shares in EIH Holdings Ltd (BVI), the joint venture the Oberoi Group acquired from Amex in 2010. The Oberoi Group declined to discuss ownership of Peran Ltd (Hong Kong) and whether the acquisition of Amex stake in EIH Holdings also included the takeover of J&W Hong Kong and J&W Inc (Bahamas).

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Responding to queries from The Indian Express, P R S Oberoi, Executive Chairman of the Oberoi Group, said in an email: “It is correct that I resigned as a Director of J& W Inc in May 2016. As far as I am aware, Mr Deepak Madhok has also resigned as a Director of J&W Inc.”

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