‘Wilful defaulter’ Winsome Diamonds diverted $750 million to dummy companies, says probe

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Updated: December 14, 2018 12:44:04 PM

Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, one among the biggest wilful defaulters, diverted at least $750 million to six companies in Hong Kong, Bahamas and UAE, directly or indirectly controlled by its promoter Jatin Mehta, through a web of ‘dummy companies.’

Apart from the 0 million, Docklands has also transferred around 0 million to Amicorp Trustee, a branch of the Amicorp Group.

Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery, one among the biggest ‘wilful defaulters’, diverted at least $750 million to six companies in Hong Kong, Bahamas and UAE, directly or indirectly controlled by its promoter Jatin Mehta, through a web of ‘dummy companies’, The Indian Express reported sources privy to the development as saying. Notably, Winsome Diamonds owes a staggering $1.26 billion to a consortium of 15 Indian banks.

According to the investigative agencies, three UAE-based companies controlled by Mehta and his associate Haytham Salman Abu Ali Obaidah together diverted about $1.03 billion to over six United Kingdom-based dummy companies. The dummy companies then routed these funds to an entity called Docklands Investment Ltd. According to a report in The Indian Express, some of the UK firms are Bramhall and Lonsdale Ltd, Harrington and Charles Trading Co, Welland Investments Ltd, Carte and Hurt Tools Ltd, and Rose Mountain LLP.

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Data from United Kingdom Registrar of Companies shows that all these firms, including Docklands Investment, are owned by a Cyprus-based company, said the report. Further, most of the companies mentioned previously, were liquidated or dissolved in 2016. Notably, many of these companies had shared directors and addresses with each other including many cross-holdings.

The investigative agencies discovered that Docklands Investment transferred around a staggering $750 million to six entities, all of which were allegedly under the direct or indirect control of promoter Jatin Mehta. Apart from the $750 million, Docklands has also transferred around $190 million to Amicorp Trustee, a branch of the Amicorp Group, a global corporate formation intermediary, the newspaper reported citing sources. Most notably, Amicorp has also been linked to Nirav Modi, the diamantaire who is currently in focus for alleged fraudulent transactions of Rs 6,000 crore at state-owned Punjab National Bank.

Quoting the structured data released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Indian Express reported that various Amicorp Group firms have been listed as “intermediary” for a dozen foreign firms named in the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers investigations.

Winsome Diamonds which was earlier declared as a “wilful defaulter” in 2016, has claimed that it did not divert funds and was a victim of non-payment by Obaidah’s firms. The company has claimed that Obaidah and his associate firms suffered losses of about $1 billion in derivatives and commodity trading and were unable to pay their dues to Winsome.

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