Will Osian's Investors Finally Get Their Money?

Will Investors Finally Get Their Money?

A15th April order by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has finally closed a chapter on the liability of Osian’s Art Fund—an investment adventure backed by unprecedented media hype, mainly through the Page3 presence of art impresario Neville Tuli, its long-haired founder. So great was the hype, that when ABN Amro Bank began to sell the Fund, it found willing takers among CEOs of mutual funds, brokerage houses and partners in global consulting giants.

The three-year close-ended fund raised Rs102 crore in 2006 and was wound up in July 2009 with the promise to redeem the investment in 120 days with a paltry 6% return, which was never paid. Moneylife began to follow this Fund from November 2009 when it was clear that the payment wasn’t forthcoming. Initially, some investors received 40% and 100% using aggressive tactics. But soon, it was only promises.

Mr Tuli first reacted with anger and even had his lawyer send us a long note. But, to his credit, the firm responded to investors, even if it was with yet another promise to pay. We also pointed out that SEBI had failed to follow up on its initial show-cause notice to Osian’s. Finally, nearly four years later the sponsor company—Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art Private Limited—has been ordered to wind up the scheme and pay investors within three months.

This raises many interesting questions. The society pages of newspapers have reported many comeback attempts by Mr Tuli. Experts also point out that there may be a global financial crisis, but there is no slump in the value of artworks of artists like MF Hussian, Bikash Bhattacharjee, VS Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee, Jogen Chaudhary, Somnath Hore and Tyeb Mehta, which were reportedly part of Osian’s investment. Three months down the line, we will tell you whether Osian’s complies with the order and liquidates its art to pay back investors or finds a way to buy more time. Or, more frighteningly, is it out of assets, money or artworks.

 

Editor's Note:

Moneylife has, by far, written the maximum number of articles on Osian's Art Fund which was launched, we argued, in violation of Sebi's rules for Collective Investment Schemes. Sebi has taken three years to finally move. Here is a partial list of our previous articles on Osian's.

 

  1. Osian's Art Fund: Some unit holders still awaiting first payment ...
  1. Osian's new promise: Will pay back by 29th May
  1. Osian Art Fund: Dirty canvass
  1. Osian's Art Fund is running late on payments
  1. Osian Art Fund failure: Mr Tuli's version
  1. Osian Art Fund failed to live up to expectations, says Tuli
  1. ABN AMRO investors in Osian Art Fund still await first payments ...
  1. The Osian saga continues
  1. Osian Art Fund delays payout
  1. Osian Art Fund investors get part payment
  1. Osian Art Fund to be redeemed
  1. How SEBI failed to regulate the Osian Art Fund
  1. Around 85 Osian Art Fund investors awaiting first payment
  1. ABN AMRO customers upset over their Osian Fund investment ...
  1. Undeterred by poor returns and liquidity, Osian Art plans another art ...

 

Comments
choksi R
9 years ago
Hi,

I truly applaud Moneylife's efforts right from bringing to light Osian's dubious intentions to taking it forward all along till this level with their apt articles and updates.

I have been an investor in the Osian Art Fund. I have yet to receive the balance of my invested amount as well as the income/profits earned.

I have submitted a letter to their office asking them to return the money as per the SEBI order.

As far as my readings go, they have enough assets to pay back the investors. It is the intention which falls short. If he does not pay up then I guess it becomes a perfect case to file a criminal complaint with the police. Also, then his personal assets including the house at Carmichael road, offices across the country, his fleet of expensive cars, artworks at each location should be attached and auctioned. This will be more than enough to pay back with profit, each and every investor.

I, on behalf of investors, seek Moneylife's further guidance on what can be done next.
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