As part of its probe into money laundering case against diamond merchant Mehul Choksi, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached a factory in Thailand worth £1.3 million. The factory is owned by Abbeycrest (Thailand) Limited, a part of Choksi’s Gitanjali Group. ED is in the process of the getting Choksi, an accused in the PNB scam along with his relative Nirav Modi, declared as a fugitive economic offender. The investigating agencies have found that Choksi would purchase lab-grown (machine-made) diamonds from China through his companies in Hong Kong and ship them to India, where they are believed to have been sold as genuine ones at high rates. He would process the stones and pearls in the factory at Thailand before sending them to India. With this attachment, the value of attachments and seizures in the PNB scam has reached £476.5 million.
Warrant issued against Sterling Biotech owners
A Delhi court issued non-bailable warrants against four directors of a Gujarat pharma firm in a £810 million money laundering probe case. Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora allowed the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking issuance of NBW against Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) directors Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara and Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel. The ED has registered the alleged bank fraud case against the firm under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The accused are also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint. The agency had on December 24 last year informed the court that it wanted to approach Interpol for issuance of Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the SBL’s directors.
Jet credit rating cut after loan repayment default
Crisis-ridden Jet Airways has defaulted on loan repayment to banks, following which its credit rating has been downgraded. In a statement to BSE, the airline said: “Payment of interest and principal instalment due to the consortium of Indian Banks (led by State Bank of India) on December 31, 2018, has been delayed due to temporary cashflow mismatch and the company has engaged with them in relation to the same.” In another regulatory filing, the airline said: “ICRA Limited has revised the long term rating (assigned to long term loans and non-convertible debentures) to ICRA-D from ICRA-C. The short term rating has been revised to ICRA-D from ICRA-A4. This rating downgrade considers the delay by the company in the payment of interest and principal instalment due on December 31, 2018, due to cash flow mismatches and delays in the implementation of proposed liquidity initiatives by the company.”
Govt may miss divestment target in FY19
The government may end up with a shortfall of £1 to 1.5 billion in disinvestment receipts for the current fiscal year, which may pose some worries for the Centre battling a tough fiscal situation. Data from the Department of Investment and Public Management (Dipam) showed that the government has so far raised £3.41 billion against the budget target of raising £8 billion from share sale in state-run companies. Officials said there are several factors which point to the government missing the disinvestment target this year. “The stock market has been volatile and this has meant that we have delayed accessing the market for follow-on issues,” said an official, adding that they are watching the situation closely. With nearly three months left for the financial year to come to an end, the target looks tough.
Tata Cleantech raises £18 mn from Dutch bank FMO
Tata Cleantech Capital has raised £18 million via a green bond fromNetherlands’ development bank FMO to finance renewable energy projects. Tata Cleantech is majority owned (80%) by Tata Capital, the non-bank finance arm of the Tata Group, with the balance 20% being held by IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank. Tata Cleantech, which began operations in fiscal 2014, has funded 150 green energy projects with a capacity of 5,200 megawatts. Tata Cleantech MD Manish Chourasia said that the infrastructure finance firm has invested £700 million till date. The fresh capital-raise will help Tata Cleantech to ramp up its funding plans in India where renewable energy generation is expected to touch 175 gigawatts by March 2022.