The names cropping up on Day 5 of “Panama Papers” expose on Indians holding offshore companies include the promoters of the Oberoi and Ruchi groups, even as the thickest dossier yet is on a US-based Indian purportedly serving a jail term there for alleged fraud.
Also named by the Indian Express, as part of a global expose of International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and over 100 global media organisations, are an art diva, the kin of a tea baron and an entrepreneur couple.
The newspaper said Umesh Shahra, promoter-director of the $6 billion Ruchi Group, floated at least eight offshore entities and two private foundations in Panama.
This apart, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named him in August 2014 for alleged irregularities in coal block allocations, the paper added.
“The two trusts that Shahras set up in Panama are The Threewells Foundation, the public deed of which was signed on October 1, 2009, and One World Trust, which was set up on October 22, 2008,” said the report, adding: “A detailed mail sent to him on March 29 and several calls made thereafter remained unanswered.”
As regards Oberoi, the newspaper alleged that while the group does disclose the names of a couple of such off-shore funds, but one set up in the Bahamas has not been divulged.
The newspaper said it nonetheless got a detailed response from R.P.S. Oberoi, non-executive chairman of the group.
“It is a matter of public record that the Oberoi Group and the Amex Group had a joint venture for hotels and hotel management outside of India for many years,” said the response, which also went on to add that the business was mainly done through EIH Holdings in British Virgin Islands.
“Amex Group is a private partnership whose business affairs are not public. The business affairs of Amex Group/Oberoi Group joint venture are confidential and the parties are legally bound not to discuss those matters with third parties.”
Then on the US-based hedge fund manager.
“The most voluminous bunch of documents in ‘Panama Papers’ relating to Indian names belongs to brothers Chetan Kapur and Kabir Kapur and their entity ‘Family and Children Charitable Foundation’, incorporated by Mossack Fonseca in Panama in 2010,” says the newspaper.
The entire expose is the outcome of millions of leaked documents of Panama law firm Mossak Fonseca.
“There are 499 sets of documents in Kapur files and they show that Opler, a ‘vintage offshore company’, was purchased by Chetan Kapur from Mossack Fonseca for $6,750 in 2007. It was only three years later that FCCF (the foundation) was set up,” says the paper.