The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned Jet Airways’ former chairman Naresh Goyal and Sahara group chief Subrata Roy for several hours. Government agencies, including income-tax department and serious fraud investigation office, are probing Jet Airways’ financial transactions of the last 12 years, including tax evasion. They are also probing the 2007 business deal where Jet Airways bought Air Sahara for £145 million. The ED is probing the money trail related with the deal, which was termed the ‘biggest deal’ in Indian aviation history. The ED is probing Goyal for forex violations under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), but is also exploring the possibility of registering a money-laundering case as officials have learnt that Jet Airlines had diverted most of the £800 million loan secured from banks abroad by inflating payments and through fictitious transactions.
Binny Bansal to set up $400m VC fund
Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal is readying up plans to launch a venture capital (VC) fund with a target corpus of $300-400 million, which will focus on startups who need growth capital, said sources familiar with the development. Bansal, who left his role as group CEO of Flipkart in November last year, is likely to roll out the new fund by the end of the year and it will be based out of Singapore. He will be a general partner (GP) running the fund and will also come in as one of the anchor investors. The fund will primarily be focused on startups in India, but will also look at backing entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. Bansal has already started putting together a team to handle finance and legal functions at the fund. Bansal, who moved base from Bengaluru to Singapore earlier this year, did not respond to queries.
China’s exports shrink as tariff war hurts US sales
China’s exports unexpectedly contracted in August, with sales to the US tumbling amid the escalating trade war between the two countries. Exports decreased 1% in dollar terms from a year earlier, while imports declined 5.6%, leaving a trade surplus of $34.8 billion, the customs administration said. Economists had forecast that exports would grow 2.2%, while imports would shrink by 6.4%. Shipments to the US fell 16% from a year earlier. US President Donald Trump’s administration raised tariffs on Chinese goods at the start of the month, and is set to ratchet up levies further in October and again in December if there is no breakthrough. China and the US will hold face-to-face trade negotiations in Washington in the coming weeks, after a rapid deterioration in relations last month left global investors reeling amid increasing evidence the conflict is harming both countries.
PNB Board approves amalgamation proposal
The Board of Punjab National Bank (PNB) has given in-principle approval for amalgamation of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India with PNB. The Board meeting followed the Finance Ministry asking the three banks to consider the proposal of amalgamation, PNB said in a regulatory filing. The Alternative Mechanism headed by the finance minister after consultation with Reserve Bank of India has given the go-ahead for the amalgamation. The government earlier unveiled plan merge 10 public sector banks into four as part of plans to create fewer and stronger global-sized lenders as it looks to boost economic growth from an over six-year low. Besides, the PNB board cleared a capital infusion of up to £1.8 billion by the government for preferential allotment of equity shares of the bank at a price determined in terms of SEBI regulations.