Pandora Papers: After Selling Ranbaxy, Jailed Founders Singh Brothers, Opened 2 Offshore Firms, Indian Express Finds
By: Deepshikha Soni
Ranbaxy founders Malvinder and Shivinder Singh, incarcerated in Tihar jail for over two years on money laundering charges, had set up two offshore accounts in the British Virgin Island in January 2009, reveals an investigation into the Pandora Papers by the Indian Express.
This revelation indicates that the creation of these accounts took place just six months after selling the family’s 34.8 per cent stake in Ranbaxy Laboratories to the Japanese pharma major Daiichi Sankyo for around $2.4 billion.
The report elaborates that the two firms, Clonberg Holdings Ltd and Forthill International Ltd, were registered in BVI through Aleman, Cordero, Galindo, and Lee Trust (BVI) Limited, on January 2nd, 2009. The issued shares of Clonberg Holdings stood at 44.5 lakh, and Forthill International issued 48.5 lakh shares as of May 2018. The records also show that Shivinder Singh mortgaged some property of Forthill International Ltd to borrow ￡ 5.1 million from Barclays Bank.
Shareholders of Clonberg Holdings were Malvinder Singh, his wife, and their three daughters. Shivinder Singh, his wife, and their four children were holding the shares of Forthill International.
Clonberg’s initial authorized share capital to issue was only 50,000 shares, which was increased several times over the years up to 44.5 lakh shares of $1 each. Meanwhile, the authorized share capital of Forthill increased up to 48.5 lakh shares. Moreover, both firms, Clogberg and Forthill, had the same set of directors.
The Express investigation shows that both Clonberg and Forthill own an apartment in London. In addition, Clonberg had an apartment in the Embassy Court in London and three parking spaces in the same building. Documents estimate the minimum current value of these properties at ￡7.4 million.
Forthill owned another apartment in the Embassy Court alongside two storage spaces and two parking spaces in the same building. The minimum current value of these properties, according to the documents, is estimated to be ￡6.6 million.
In October 2019, the Economic Offenses Wing arrested Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh for allegedly causing losses of ₹ 2,397 billion to Religare Finvest Ltd, a subsidiary of Religare Enterprises Ltd (REL). In addition, Shivinder Singh and others were arrested in a money laundering case by the Directorate of Enforcement on December 12th, 2019.
Earlier this month, Aditi Singh, wife of Shivinder Singh, said she had paid ₹200 crores between June 2020 and 2021 in 30 instalments to Sukesh Chandrashekhar, the conman who ran his business from behind the bars of Delhi's Tihar Jail. Chandrashekhar allegedly told her that he paid the money to the BJP party funds, and central minister Amit Shah and then law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was on her side.
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