World
Oberoi, Ruchi, US fund manager in latest 'Panama Papers' list
New Delhi : 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.
 
"In January 2013, he (Chetan) was indicted by US Securities and Exchange Commission and ordered to pay $4.95 million in fines and barred from securities, brokerage and investment business," said the paper, adding a US Federal Court ordered him back in jail for failing to pay $10 million to the commission.
 
Kabir Kapur told the paper that he has been a US national since 2011 -- before his name was added to the foundation in 2012. He also said Opler Consulting was since wound up, even as the foundation still exists. "As far as my brother Chetan Kapur is concerned, he is still in prison in the US," he said.
 
"We have got no justice in this case from any quarter."
 
Also in this edition is a response from Harshad Mehta of the Rosy Blue Diamonds conglomerate. "I have been a non-resident at the time when I, either incorporated, acquired or participated in these companies," he told the paper, alluding to the legitimacy of his offshore companies.
 
"These companies were operating companies and the structures are all according to globally accepted and followed corporate holding structures. The locations are typically chosen for ease of incorporation, established legal systems and succession clarity," he is quoted as saying in the response.
 
"Being a non-resident based in the UAE, tax avoidance was not a requirement for me nor was it my intention to establish companies in 'tax haven' jurisdictions such as the BVI (British Virgin Islands) for tax avoidance, as erroneously implied."
 
Others named on Day Five include:
 
Art collector Amrita Jhaveri of Amaya Collection fame, who is alleged to have set up an offshore firm in the Seychelles to own assets in Switzerland. The newspaper said she did not respond to calls, with her office saying the queries were passed on to her in London.
 
Delhi businessman Satya Prakash Gupta, who admits to being the beneficiary owner of an offshore firm in Ras Al Khaima, but also said there were no assets in the company.
 
Gargi Barooah, daughter-in-law of late Hemendra Prasad Barooah, the grand old man of Assam's tea industry. She is alleged as the sole beneficiary of Walker Foundation set up in Panama in April 2010. She, too, did not respond to queries, the paper said.
 
Husband-wife duo Nimitt Rai Tiwari and Ankita Sehgal are directors in Damodar Sunidhi Ventures, based out of Delhi. The duo has been alleged to own Suncell Holding SA incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Ankita Sehgal did not respond to multiple emails.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

UK Serious Fraud Office probes Tata Steel's British plants
Mumbai : Britain's Serious Fraud Office has opened a criminal investigation into Tata Steel's UK operations, which the company is looking to sell, according to reports appearing in the British media.
 
The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday that authorities have launched a criminal investigation into charges that Tata Steel staff, at its Yorkshire's site, may have tampered with certificates on the composition of steel products before its sale.
 
At least nine employees have been suspended and around 500 clients, including Rolls-Royce and BAE, are affected, the paper said citing sources.
 
Having suffered nearly 3 billion dollars in losses on the British operations, Tata Steel last week said it will explore the options to put its entire portfolio there up for sale, some 10 years after it forayed into Europe by acquiring the Anglo-Dutch Corus for over 8.1 billion dollars.
 
The company said the move was to cut its heavy losses from high manufacturing costs, competition with China and a global steel glut. 
 
Former chairman Ratan Tata has described the UK steel operations as "underinvested and overmanned".
 
British Business Secretary Sajid Javid flew into this city earlier this week to specifically hold talks with the Tata Group top brass led by chairman Cyrus Mistry, in a bid to avert over 40,000 job losses at Tata Steel UK.
 
The Tata Group on Wednesday sought the British government's help in finding a suitable buyer for its floundering steel assets in Britain, while also exploring the possibility of a third-party independent auditor to oversee the transition, sources here said.
 
Speaking to reporters here following the meeting, Javid called it "constructive and positive" and said the Tata Group was a "responsible company". He added that it had told him that a "reasonable amount of time" would be allowed for the sale process.
 
Javid also tweeted that Tata Steel will begin the formal process to sell its UK units by coming Monday.
 
Among the parties that have shown interest in purchasing the Tata assets, the British business secretary only named Liberty Steel.
 
India-born, London-based businessman Sanjiv Kumar Gupta, founder of the UK-based Liberty House, is touted as a strong contender to take over Tata Steel's British assets. He was one of the potential buyers Javid met in London before flying out to Mumbai.
 
Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron held emergency talks in London with his colleagues to tackle the crisis, amid warnings that the firm has just weeks for a rescue deal.
 
The Labour Party has termed it a national crisis and wants the UK steel industry to be nationalised.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

User

Ensuring Safe Transactions: Mobile, Internet, ATMs, Ecommerce
Explaining best practices for making online transactions safe and secure, Yogesh Sapkale, emphasised that unless you follow certain rules and are learn to be vigilant, no software or mobile app can protect you
 
"Online transactions and shopping through mobile or personal computer (PC) or laptop are fast becoming way of life. No doubt it makes like easy. However, if you want to take advantage of technology, you need to follow certain rules," said Yogesh Sapkale, Deputy Editor of Moneylife. He was speaking on "How to be Safe & Smart in Digital Financial Transactions" at Moneylife Foundation which explained how some basic safeguards could allow people to benefit from technological advances without falling prey to scams, viruses and malware.
 
He said, "No software or mobile app can protect you if you are not careful. Whether you are using Internet for browsing, checking emails or online transactions you need to follow certain rules. It applies while using mobile phones and ATMs as well." 
 
Mr Sapkale started the session with mobile security, what apps to download or install, how to save contacts and the importance of having an emergency (ICE) contact number in the mobile. "This (the ICE number) will help in case something happens with you and your near and dear ones needed to be contacted. You can save number with ICE prefix, like ICE Rahul, ICE Pankaj and so on."
 
Mr Sapkale offered an interesting solution to those who keep their phones locked.  "Locking your mobile is a good thing to prevent unauthorised usage. But it becomes problem in case of emergency, especially if you are knocked out in an accident. A person who wants to assist you or contact your kin is unable to access details from a locked phone". His solution was this: Almost all mobile devices allow you to post owner information on the locked screen. Instead of posting your name under this, add the mobile number of the person who should be contacted in case of emergency. Use the prefix 'ICE' (in case of emergency) or 'Emergency' followed by the mobile number of the person. You can add the name of the person if you wish. You can also add more than one number, but use mobile numbers instead of landlines: ICE 9876543210 or Emergency 1234567890. This will help others to help you."
 
 
He then told the audience how one could block spam or unwanted calls and messages using apps like TrueCaller. Such apps would get access to your contact list, but it also helps in identifying the caller, he said, adding, for this, TrueCaller needs to have access to internet or you need to keep the data connection, preferably 3G and above on.
 
Mr Sapkale also informed the audience about precautions to take while handing over you mobile for repairing or while selling it to someone else. Emphasising on regular backups, he advised the audience to sell or dispose of mobile only after taking all back up and resetting the device to factory setting.
 
He then offered some safety tips for using internet banking and financial transactions. He said, "Do check the encryption level of the URL which you may be accessing, especially for financial transactions. There should be an additional 's' in the address bar, like https. Also check for the lock icon in the address bar. This denotes the security level and should display the website's security certificate after clicking on the lock icon."
 
Since several banks provide virtual keyboard for online banking, one should use it, especially if you are accessing it from a public PC, to avoid user ID and password from being stolen through key loggers. Same thing applies when you are using a free Wi-Fi connection, which makes your data vulnerable and one should avoid it, he added.
 
For financial transactions, Mr Sapkale said, "Avoid clicking on any link, icon like 'submit' button on screen, unless you have initiated the session."
 
He went on to explain safe practices for using emails, precautions while downloading attachments, and how to identify spam or phishing mails. "For a safer side, check if your email service provider allows you to opt in for double check-in. Here one check is your password, and the other could be a one-time password (code) as SMS or conveyed through a phone call," he advised. 
 
Talking about security for personal computer (PC) or laptop, he said, "You need to have a robust anti-virus and an anti-malware software. Several free softwares perform similar to or even better than the paid ones. Also do opt for software updates and, especially for Windows, install patches. Regular software updates ensure you get the best performance, better life and new, useful features. Most importantly, they increase the security of your device by patching the bugs or holes that may make your device vulnerable to attacks or virus and malware."
 
Passwords play an important role in online transactions and thus we need to pay extra attention for creating and keeping it as a secret. "You should create passwords and codes or PINs that are hard to guess but easy to remember (only for you). For general sites, which do not affect you personally or financially, use simple, memorable phrases, to create passwords. Reserve your strongest, most distinct passwords for critical services-like your bank account, your computer, personal e-mail and social media sites."
 
"Never share your passwords with anyone. Create passwords using memorable phrases; mix it with numbers, special characters. Never use a word from a dictionary, either as base or password. Feel free to mix languages. For financial transactions, I would suggest a password with a length of at least 13 characters," Mr Sapkale advised.
 
He also explained, how using the keypad of old mobiles, one can create combination of PIN for ATN, debit or credit card. Talking about safe practices for using such cards, he said, "Never reveal you PIN to anyone. Also cover the keypad with your hands while entering your PIN, either at any shop or at ATM centre. Do not let your card out of your sight. If at a merchant site, the payment machine is elsewhere, either accompany the retailer or request they bring it to you. Check your credit card statements and contact your bank if anything looks suspicious."
 
Mr Sapkale, then took the audience through online shopping transactions. "Shop only based on your needs and not on impulse. If you are planning to buy an item, then bookmark or add it to cart instead of direct buying as it may save you some money later through an offer or special sale period. Also opt for cash on delivery (COD) and open the package in the presence of the delivery person to check if it is same as you ordered. In addition, while ordering an item do check its total price, including delivery charges. Sometimes, your neighbourhood shop may be selling this item at much lower price compared with the total cost of online ordering," he said.
 
In his concluding remark, Mr Sapkale said, "Never reveal mobile numbers, credit or debit card number and its security code or any other personal detail related with your financials, especially over phone. Never click on any unfamiliar link received either through social media or chat programs or via email. Do check the encryption level of the URL which you may be accessing and do not share your mobile number or email ID in public forums."

User

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)