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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Pandora Papers Highlights: Billionaire Arvind Tiku, Hyatt’s Radhe Shyam Saraf on Pandora Papers list

Pandora Papers Highlights: Radhe Shyam Saraf, who owns a group of companies running a chain of Hyatt hotels in the country, has settled his properties in tax haven Belize through two trusts, according to the Pandora Papers. 

By: Express Web Desk |
Updated: October 10, 2021 9:06:00 am
An Express investigation into the Pandora Papers reveals how individuals and businesses are pushing the envelope to evade detection, using loopholes in the law at home and the lax jurisdiction of tax havens.

Pandora Papers Highlights: In part 5 of the Pandora papers investigation, we take a look at the offshore footprints of India-born Singapore billionaire  Arvind Tiku who was ranked by Forbes in 2021 as the 18th richest in Singapore with a net worth of $2.2 billion.

Tiku is not just another businessman. His business associates include LN Mittal, chairman of the world’s largest steel and metal company, ArcelorMittal, and Timur Kulibaev, son-in-law of former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The 51-year-old has established The Sai Charan Investment Holding Trust in Singapore, of which Auctus Investments Ltd, a British Virgin Islands company, is the prime investment holding vehicle with assets of $199.4 million, show records of Trident Trust, a global corporate services company headquartered in BVI.

Another figure to feature in the investigations is Radhe Shyam Saraf. Saraf, who owns a group of companies running a chain of Hyatt hotels in the country, has settled his properties in tax haven Belize through two trusts, according to the Pandora Papers.

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Indian Express' Pandora Papers investigation Part-3: SC lawyer Harish Salve, Bharat Hotels Group on Pandora Papers list

09:06 (IST)10 Oct 2021
Arrested this week, Unitech promoter’s wife got offshore trust, Dominica passport

Six years ago, around the time desperate homebuyers approached courts against Unitech Group promoter Sanjay Chandra, his wife Preeti Chandra set up an offshore family trust structure and changed her nationality, records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express show.

Records of corporate service provider Trident Trust show that Unitech Group defaulted as early as 2009 on servicing a $210-million loan from Credit Suisse for investing in realty projects in India.

Last Monday, Preeti Chandra and Sanjay Chandra’s father Ramesh Chandra were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate probing the Unitech money laundering case. In March, the ED had stopped her from boarding a flight at Delhi. The agency claimed she was “involved in laundering and layering of funds deposited by home buyers”. Read the full report here. 

09:05 (IST)10 Oct 2021
Vasundhara daughter-in-law had firm in tax haven Belize

Niharika Raje, wife of BJP MP Dushyant Singh and daughter-in-law of BJP leader and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, is named in the Pandora Papers as a “beneficial owner” of an entity in Belize, a tax haven in Central America.

According to records from Panamanian law firm Alcogal (Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee), Niharika Raje is a “beneficial owner” of Octavia Limited, incorporated in Belize.

A declaration by Panama-based trust Rendor Overseas SA on November 12, 2010, stated: “We have no beneficial interest in the holding of 1 ordinary share of USD 1 each standing in our name in the capital of Octavia Limited of 60 Market Square, Belize City, Belize…the whole of the said share being held for Niharika Raje of Lekha Vihar, Scindia Potteries, Near Bikaji Cama Place Flyover, 110066 New Delhi, India absolutely (hereinafter called the Beneficial Owner).” Read the full report here. 

14:04 (IST)08 Oct 2021
BR Shetty is a bankrupt billionaire — with a network of BVI firms

Until two years ago, Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, who migrated from Karnataka to the Gulf in the 1970s to set up a worldwide healthcare and hospitality empire, was considered one of the richest Indians, ranked in the Forbes list of billionaires with a net worth of $3.15 billion.

Today, he faces a travel ban. Indicted by the Karnataka High Court, he has been told to come clean on his assets. This, after a 2020 report from investment firm Muddy Waters, highlighted his high borrowings which are today pegged at $6.6 billion. His assets in the UAE and his companies in the London Stock Exchange frozen, Shetty is back in Bengaluru — only to face charges of non-repayment of debts to a slew of Indian banks. (Read more)

11:40 (IST)08 Oct 2021
Post-Ranbaxy, Singh brothers, now in jail, opened 2 offshore firms

In January 2009, just six months after the family sold its 34.8 per cent stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories to Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo for around $2.4 billion, Malvinder Singh and his younger brother Shivinder Singh set up two offshore firms in the British Virgin Islands, records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express reveal.

These records show that the two firms, Clonberg Holdings Ltd and Forthill International Ltd, own an apartment each in London. Besides, they show, Shivinder Singh mortgaged some properties of Forthill International to borrow £5.1 million from Barclays Bank.

Both Malvinder and Shivinder are in Tihar jail for two years on charges of alleged illegal diversion of funds and money laundering. Mails sent to their families did not elicit any response. (Read more)

09:45 (IST)08 Oct 2021
Man who brought Hyatt to India settles inheritance assets in tax haven

Radhe Shyam Saraf, who owns a group of companies running a chain of Hyatt hotels in the country, has settled his properties in tax haven Belize through two trusts, according to the Pandora Papers. These also show his links and transactions in offshore destinations such as the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein.

According to documents of Panamanian law firm Alcogal, Saraf and his wife Ratna are settlors of The Devita Trust, Belize, which was created on April 4, 2006. The sole beneficiary of the trust is their son Umesh Saraf. A spreadsheet dated February 5, 2018, names Girish Sunder Jhunjhunwala as the trust protector. The trust is one of the shareholders of the Saraf Investments Limited, Mauritius. (Read more)

20:47 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Lawmakers and regulators around the world take action in the wake of Pandora Papers

US lawmakers are set to respond to the Pandora Papers with landmark legislation that would crack down on professional enablers who move dirty money for corrupt clients.

The bipartisan measure would require a broad array of middlemen — including lawyers, accountants, real estate professionals, trust administrators, art dealers, financial advisers and public relations professionals — to ensure they aren’t laundering black market income.

“Disclosures within the Pandora Papers are the clearest demonstration yet of the historic threat posed by foreign corruption,” says a joint statement by US representatives Tom Malinowski and John Curtis. “Billions of dollars of dirty money belonging to adversarial actors are flooding the United States.” Read the full report here.

13:27 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Booked by CBI, Manoj Prasad owns 2 offshore companies

Manoj Prasad, booked by the CBI for alleged extortion, owns two offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Pandora Papers show.

Son of a former officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Prasad was booked by the CBI when the agency’s then Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana were engaged in an acrimonious public faceoff.

In Globex Advisors Limited, one of his two BVI companies, Prasad is among three directors and owns 40 per cent stakes. In the second company, Justforajob.com Limited set up in January 2016, he is the sole director. Read the full report here.

 
13:25 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: Wockhardt founder, family hold shares worth $20 million in Panama firm

Wockhardt chairman Habil Fakhruddin Khorakiwala incorporated an offshore firm in Panama in 2011 — and within four years held shares worth $20 million in the company along with 11 other family members, according to records in the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express.

Family members of Khorakiwala with shares in the Panama firm, Barrymil Investments SA, include the top faces of Wockhardt, the Mumbai-based pharmaceutical giant: Murtaza Khorakiwala, managing director; Huzaifa Khorakiwala, executive director; and, Zahabiya Khorakiwala, non-executive director.

Records show that at the time of incorporation in 2011, the capital of Barrymil Investments SA was $10,000, divided into 10,000 shares of $1 each. Read the full report here. 

 
09:30 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: Suris took tax haven route to hotel projects in Dubai, London

Layered ownership structures, accessed as part of Pandora Papers investigation, reveal the offshore footprints of the promoters of Bharat Hotels Group which was raided in connection with its “undisclosed foreign assets” by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in January 2020.

According to records of Trident Trust (BVI), a corporate service provider, investigated by The Indian Express, Bharat Hotels promoter Jyotsna Suri’s interests in hotel projects Dubai and London were held by an offshore subsidiary of Deeksha Holdings Limited, the largest shareholder (40.41%) in Bharat Hotels Limited.

In 2017, Deeksha Holdings was held 73% by Jyotsna Suri. Read the full report here. 

 
09:29 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: MGF’s Shravan Gupta owned BVI firm, JV with Emaar got $2 million

In 2007, within two years of the merger of Dubai-based Emaar and Shravan Gupta-owned MGF, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm invested USD 2 million in the joint venture, according to the Pandora Papers.

Gupta was the beneficial owner of a company in BVI where its Finance Ministry issued two notices after his name surfaced in the HSBC Bank (Geneva) list of Indian account holders.

A resolution on Asiatrust Limited, provided by AsiaCiti Trust, shows that in 2007, Zala Holdings Limited (ZHL), BVI, invested 2 million USD in Emaar MGF with ANI Capital Holdings India Limited, Cayman Islands. ZHL’s 100 per cent shareholding was owned by Churchill Trust, Cook Islands. Asiatrust Limited, also based in the Cook Islands, was trustee of the Churchill Trust. Read the full report here. 

 
09:28 (IST)07 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: Harish Salve buys BVI firm to acquire London apartment

Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve, a former Solicitor General of India, acquired The Marsul Company Limited in the British Virgin Islands in 2015 to own a property in London, Pandora records investigated by The Indian Express show.

Salve was allotted 50,000 shares in Marsul on September 15, 2015, according to the Register of Members prepared by the company’s agent, Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee Trust (BVI) Ltd or Alcogal. A Register of Members is essentially a list of a company’s shareholders. Read the full report here. 

19:06 (IST)06 Oct 2021
From temples to offshore trusts, a hunt for Cambodia’s looted heritage leads to top museums

For decades, Douglas Latchford cut a romantic figure: The genial Englishman was an explorer of jungle temples, a scholar and a connoisseur seduced by the exquisite details of ancient sculpture.

Helicoptering into remote Cambodia to visit Khmer Empire cities, he risked land mines to satisfy his curiosity. Beginning in the 1970s, he amassed one of the world’s largest private collections of Khmer treasures, mostly Hindu and Buddhist sculpture, the remains of a civilization that flourished in Southeast Asia a thousand years ago. He co-wrote three glossy books on the subject.

“The sculpture and architecture created by the Khmer to honor their gods and their rulers are among the major artistic masterpieces of the world,” he wrote in the first of the three, “Adoration and Glory.”
 
Yet while Latchford professed reverence for Khmer achievements, he was also trafficking in and profiting from antiquities pillaged from that civilization’s sacred temples, according to US prosecutors, part of a decades-long ransacking of Cambodian sites that ranks as one of the most devastating cultural thefts of the 20th century. Read the full report here.

14:42 (IST)06 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: Antrix Diamonds defaults on bank loans, its owner sets up web of offshore companies

A Mumbai-based jeweller, whose firm has defaulted on loan repayments to 19 Indian banks, set up a web of offshore firms with cross holdings to route funds along with a billionaire Saudi-businessman linked to a Mexican drug lord, reveal the Pandora Papers investigated by The Indian Express.

Records pertaining to Antrix Diamonds Exports Pvt Ltd, an Indian firm promoted by Ajay Gandhi, show that Singapore-based Andin Investments owned more than 20 per cent stake in Antrix Diamonds which owes over Rs 500 crore to public sector banks in India and has been declared a wilful defaulter.

Andin Investments is held by two offshore firms — Shertha Limited, Mauritius, and Zoom Investments & Securities Limited in Dubai. Both Shertha and Zoom are owned by two firms, Ace Investments in Dubai and Infinity Investments Securities Limited in the BVI. Read the full report here. 

 
09:42 (IST)06 Oct 2021
On Pandora Papers list: IRS officer and an ex-IT Chief Commissioner

Two former officers of the Indian Revenue Service, one who was arrested for alleged corruption and money laundering, and another who was an Income Tax Chief Commissioner, have Swiss bank accounts, an investigation of records in the Pandora Papers by The Indian Express shows.

Homi Rajvansh (IRS, 1985 batch) was Additional Managing Director of National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) when he was booked on charges of corruption and money laundering and for giving undue gains to private parties while in office.

Fresh records, investigated by The Indian Express, show that the Swiss OAG (Office of the Attorney General) had, in 2013, seized all records as evidence and imposed sanctions on two offshore companies set up by Rajvansh: Horsham Technologies Ltd and Wairoa Industries Inc.

Both these firms were set up by the Trident Trust in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Former Income Tax Chief Commissioner Sushil Gupta figures in Pandora Papers in a Trident Trust company registration form.

It shows that Gupta registered a company Allied Trading Ltd in January 2017 describing himself as the “business owner” of an Indian company Hopewell Tradelink. Read the full report here. 

09:40 (IST)06 Oct 2021
Mumbai real estate major Hiranandani: Link to BVI, trust with $60 million in assets

Niranjan Hiranandani, the founder of Mumbai-based real estate major Hiranandani Group, and key members of his family were beneficiaries of a Trust with assets of over $60 million.

Niranjan was the “reserve director” in at least three firms set up in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) by his Dubai-based son, records in the Pandora Papersinvestigated by The Indian Express show.

The BVI Business Companies Act provides for the nomination of a reserve director to act in the event of the death of the sole director of a company. Read the full report here. 

09:39 (IST)06 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: HealthifyMe owner’s Singapore firm linked to former Putin aide’s fund

Tushar Vashisht, son of former Haryana DGP Shriniwas Vashisht, set up HealthifyMe Wellness Private Limited (HWPL) which runs an AI-based health and fitness platform in India, through his Singapore-based holding company. AsiaCiti Trust records show this Singapore company is linked to Lang Capital Fund owned by Kirill Androsov, a former aide of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Documents show that questions were raised on some of the transactions of the LCF to various entities including HealthifyMe. Read the full report here. 

22:33 (IST)05 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: How will the revelations impact Pakistan’s politics?

Several people surrounding Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, including ministers and family members, have been named in the Pandora Papers leaks.

The papers, which were shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reveal that many of the country’s powerful military generals, businessmen and media owners have transferred millions of dollars through offshore companies.

More than 700 prominent Pakistanis were named in the investigation, released on Sunday. Read the full report here.

19:05 (IST)05 Oct 2021
Pandora papers: Sri Lankan power couple piled up luxury homes, artworks and cash offshore

In early 2018, workers in a London warehouse carefully loaded an oil painting of Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth, onto a van bound for Switzerland.

The painting, by 19th-century Indian master Raja Ravi Varma, depicts the four-armed goddess clad in a red sari with gold ornaments and standing atop a lotus flower. It was one of 31 works of art, altogether worth nearly $1 million, that were being shipped to the Geneva Freeport in Switzerland. That vast, ultra-secure warehouse complex, larger than 20 soccer fields, stores among its many treasures what the BBC once called “the greatest art collection no one can see.”

The owner of “Goddess Lakshmi,” and the artworks in transit with it, as recorded on the packing slip, was a Samoan-registered shell company with an unremarkable name, Pacific Commodities Ltd. But a cache of leaked documents from Asiaciti Trust, a Singapore-based financial services provider, indicates that a politically connected Sri Lankan, Thirukumar Nadesan, secretly controls the company and thus is the true owner of the 31 pieces of art. Read the full report here.

17:30 (IST)05 Oct 2021
Pandora Papers: How America’s biggest law firm drives global wealth into tax havens

An adviser to Malaysia’s prime minister needed help managing companies in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur and in Hong Kong. Prosecutors say he and his associates used the companies to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from a government economic development fund.

A Russian maker of Kalashnikov rifles, under international sanctions for bad behaviour, wanted to sell its shares in a large copper mine to a shadowy business in Mongolia. The sale triggered a corruption probe of the then-Mongolian prime minister.

Tech giant Apple Inc. was shopping for a tax haven to stash its mountain of offshore cash.

They all had a friend in America’s biggest law firm. Read the full report here.

13:18 (IST)05 Oct 2021
Owners of Radico Khaitan, manufacturer of IMFL, have their assets in offshore trusts

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. (Read more)

Pandora Papers: Suris took tax haven route to hotel projects in Dubai, London

Layered ownership structures, accessed as part of Pandora Papers investigation, reveal the offshore footprints of the promoters of Bharat Hotels Group which was raided in connection with its “undisclosed foreign assets” by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in January 2020.

According to records of Trident Trust (BVI), a corporate service provider, investigated by The Indian Express, Bharat Hotels promoter Jyotsna Suri’s interests in hotel projects Dubai and London were held by an offshore subsidiary of Deeksha Holdings Limited, the largest shareholder (40.41%) in Bharat Hotels Limited.

An Express investigation into the Pandora Papers reveals how individuals and businesses are pushing the envelope to evade detection, using loopholes in the law at home and the lax jurisdiction of tax havens.

Pandora Papers: MGF’s Shravan Gupta owned BVI firm, JV with Emaar got $2 million

In 2007, within two years of the merger of Dubai-based Emaar and Shravan Gupta-owned MGF, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) firm invested USD 2 million in the joint venture, according to the Pandora Papers.

Gupta was the beneficial owner of a company in BVI where its Finance Ministry issued two notices after his name surfaced in the HSBC Bank (Geneva) list of Indian account holders.

A resolution on Asiatrust Limited, provided by AsiaCiti Trust, shows that in 2007, Zala Holdings Limited (ZHL), BVI, invested 2 million USD in Emaar MGF with ANI Capital Holdings India Limited, Cayman Islands. ZHL’s 100 per cent shareholding was owned by Churchill Trust, Cook Islands. Asiatrust Limited, also based in the Cook Islands, was trustee of the Churchill Trust.

Pandora Papers: Alok Industries ex-owners, top defaulters, set up offshore network

The former promoters of Alok Industries Ltd, which has now been acquired by Reliance Industries (RIL)-JM Financial ARC through insolvency proceedings, floated offshore firms, the Pandora Papers show.

Records show that between 2010 and 2014, brothers Ashok Jiwrajka, Dilip Jiwrajka, and Surender Jiwrajka set up four firms in the British Virgin Islands: Triumphant Victory Holdings Limited; Alok Worldwide Ltd; Alok International Ltd; and Alok Overseas Limited.

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