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India

ED arrests businessman Muhammed Riyaz in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said that it has arrested businessman Muhammed Riyaz in its probe into a money laundering case to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore involving 57 shell companies.

An ED official said that Muhammed Riyaz aka Mohammed Sammy, the proprietor of Astral Exim and Co, was arrested for trade based money-laundering.

The ED has registered a case based on a CBI FIR for fraudulent high-value forex outward remittances/transactions exceeding Rs 3,500 crore using 57 shell entities current opened at a Syndicate Bank branch in Chennai.

The official said that during investigation it was found that Riyaz operated an array of accounts in the assumed names at various banks like Syndicate Bank, Ratnakar Bank Ltd, Karur Vysya Bank, ICICI Bank, etc.

The official said the modus operandi used by the hawala operator was to open the current account in the name of fictitious business entity at first instance, based on fabricated identity documents obtained by the individual.

“As a subsequent move, amounts were poured into the accounts operated in complete anonymity from various other accounts maintained on pan-India basis through electronic transfers. As the third and the final move, fabricated documents were submitted before the banks, made them to send the foreign exchange outside the country under the guise of advance payments against imports,” the official said.

The official said that during investigation of one shell entity conducted by the agency, it was found that the accused, acting in complete anonymity, integrated a sum of Rs 14.5 crore collected from various persons on a pan-India basis within a short span of two months.

“The entire operation was synchronised in such a way that the funds received were immediately transferred to various business entities in Hong Kong through wire transfer to the extent of $2,184,785.00 equivalent Rs 14.5 crore, based on fabricated documents.

“The details of various foreign exchange transfers in respect of other banks are also under probe,” he said.

The official said that the agency has recovered multiple identity documents from the residential premises of the individual including PAN cards, Driving Licences etc. in assumed names.

Riyaz was arrested and produced before a Special Court in Chennai and was remanded to judicial custody till July 18. The ED last year arrested three persons involved in the case.

(IANS)

Categories
World

Hollywood producer charged with money laundering in Malaysia

A Malaysian court on Friday charged Riza Aziz, the producer of Hollywood blockbuster “The Wolf of Wall Street” and also the stepson of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, with money laundering, allegedly involving $248 million misappropriated from the 1MDB state fund.

The co-founder of Hollywood’s Red Granite Pictures, Riza, 42, pleaded not guilty to the five charges of money laundering at Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court, Efe news agency quoted the state-run Bernama news as saying.

The court set bail at RM1 million (nearly $242,000) and asked him to surrender his passports.

Charge sheets allege that five payments of amounts varying from just over $1.17 million to $133 million were transferred through Switzerland to accounts belonging to Red Granite Productions Inc in Los Angeles, and Red Granite Capital Ltd in Singapore during 2011-2012.

The charges, made under the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001, each carry penalties of a fine of up to RM5 million, a jail term of up to five years, or both.

Riza was arrested on Thursday.

US prosecutors have in the past accused the production company of diverting $155 million in funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) to finance “The Wolf of Wall Street”, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.

In 2018, Red Granite Pictures agreed to pay $60 million to end a civil lawsuit driven by the US government, money that was later returned to Malaysia.

Corruption of the 1MDB state fund contributed to the fall of Najib, who was defeated in the May 2018 elections and has since been charged with 42 counts of money laundering and abuse of power.

Najib’s wife and Riza’s mother, Rosmah Mansor, is also charged in relation to 1MDB.

The 1MDB corruption scandal was revealed in 2015 by an investigation carried out by The Wall Street Journal and the Sarawak Report that revealed the diversion of RM2.6 billion ($681 million at the time) to Najib’s private accounts.

Najib has claimed that the money was a donation from a Saudi prince.

(IANS)

Categories
India

Robert Vadra gets bail in money laundering case on Monday

A court here on Monday granted bail to Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, in a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate, which questioned Vadra several time, had opposed the bail saying his custodial interrogation was necessary for the probe.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed Vadra’s anticipatory bail in the case related to his ownership of overseas assets worth 1.9 million pounds to evade tax.

The court also allowed anticipatory bail for his aide Manoj Arora.

The court asked them to furnish a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh each and one surety of a similar amount each.

They have been ordered not to leave the country without permission and join the probe whenever required.

The court also ordered the accused not to tamper with the probe or try to influence witnesses in the case.

IANS

Categories
India

Robert Vadra appears before ED in money laundering case

Robert Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, on Friday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for the fifth time in connection with a money laundering case.

The case relates to overseas ownership of undisclosed assets worth 1.9 million pounds.

Vadra arrived at the ED’s Jamnagar office in central Delhi at 10.30 a.m. Soon after, scores of Congress workers gathered outside raising slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Robert Vadra, who is the husband of Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, has faced more than 27 hours of questioning so far.

He was earlier questioned on February 6, 7, 9 and 20.

On February 2, the court granted him interim bail till February 16 and asked him to join the investigation on February 6.

Then on February 16, a Delhi court extended Robert Vadra’s interim bail till March 2.

The ED has also lodged a money laundering case against his employee Manoj Arora after his role came up during an Income Tax Department probe in a 2015 anti-black money case involving absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

The financial probe agency has alleged that Arora was aware of Robert Vadra’s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds.

On February 12 and 13, Robert Vadra was also questioned by the ED in Jaipur in connection with a land deal case in Bikaner, Rajasthan.

On February 15, the agency attached a Rs 4.43-crore house in Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar. The property was in the name of Robert Vadra’s company Sky Light Hospitality Pvt Ltd.

IANS

Categories
India

Vadra appears for ED questioning in money laundering case

Robert Vadra, who skipped the Enforcement Directorate (ED) questioning a day ago citing poor health on Wednesday deposed before the agency in connection with a money laundering case.

He arrived at the ED’s Jamnagar office here at 10.30 a.m. 

On February 16, a Delhi court had extended Vadra’s interim bail till March 2.

Vadra, who is the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, has been questioned thrice by the directorate for over 24 hours in connection with the case on February 6, 7 and 9.

The case relates to the ownership of undisclosed assets abroad worth 1.9 million pounds, allegedly belonging to Vadra, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi’s husband.

He was also questioned on February 12 and 13 by the ED in Jaipur in connection with a Bikaner land deal case.

The ED on February 15 had attached Vadra’s Sukhdev Vihar house in Delhi, a a property worth Rs 4.43 crore. The house was in the name of Vadra’s company Sky Light Hospitality Private Limited.

On February 2, the court had granted Vadra interim bail till February 16 and asked him to join the investigation on February 6.

The ED had lodged a money laundering case against Vadra’s employee Manoj Arora after his role came up during the the Income Tax Department probe in a 2015 anti-black money case involving absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

Arora, an employee of Skylight Hospitality, was aware of Vadra’s overseas undeclared assets and was instrumental in arranging funds, the ED had alleged.

IANS

Categories
India

ED files money laundering case against Pakistani terror group

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday registered a case against Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), a Pakistani terror group, for their involvement in money laundering through various hawala channels.

A senior ED official said that the case was registered under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on the basis of a case registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in September 2018. 

The financial probe agency will try to establish money trail and to identify proceeds of crime that are suspected to be generated out of the criminal activities from the accused.

On September 26, 2018, the NIA has arrested Mohammad Salman from south Delhi’s Nizamuddin area who was in regular touch with a Dubai-based Pakistani national, who in turn was connected with the deputy chief of FIF, a front-end organisation of proscribed terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

According to the NIA case, Salman was alleged to have received funds from FIF operators through hawala channels.

The NIA in its FIR claimed that the accused and other persons reportedly received money illegally from various people in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates and these funds were utilised to carry out terrorist activities and to create unrest in India.

The agency has recovered and seized cash amounting to Rs 1.56 lakh, Nepali currency worth Rs 43,000, 14 mobiles phones, five pen drives and other incriminating documents.

Besides Salman, the NIA has also arrested FIF hawala conduit Mohammad Salim aka Mama, a resident of central Delhi’s Daryaganj, and Srinagar-based hawala courier Sajjad Abdul Wani.

According to the NIA, FIF is a Lahore-based organisation established by the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and acts as a front for the LeT.

It was founded in 1990 by Hafiz Saeed, the mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

IANS

Categories
India

Robert Vadra appears before ED in money laundering case

Four days after a Delhi court ordered Robert Vadra to join the Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation, he appeared before the agency here on Wednesday.

Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, arrived at the ED’s office located in central Delhi’s Jamnagar House at 3.45 p.m.

He was accompanied by his wife and Congress general secretary for Uttar Pradesh East, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

However, after dropping Vadra at the ED office, Priyanka left the premises.

The case relates to the ownership of 1.9 million pounds of undisclosed assets abroad, allegedly belonging to Vadra.

The ED also lodged a money laundering case against Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora after his role surfaced during a probe by the Income Tax Department into another case under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

The London property was allegedly bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of the investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

The ED counsel told the court earlier that the London property was part of the kickbacks received in a petroleum deal. The money was transferred by Santech International, FZC, a UAE-based company controlled by Bhandari.

There were a few more properties that needed to be probed, the counsel said.

Vadra was not present in the court. Vadra’s counsel informed the court that he was in London to take care of his ailing mother.

A Delhi court had on Saturday granted interim bail to Vadra till February 16 while hearing an anticipatory bail plea filed by him.

Special Judge Arvind Kumar directed Vadra to join the ED investigation on February 6.

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IANS

 

Categories
India

Robert Vadra gets interim bail in money laundering case

A Delhi Court on Saturday granted interim bail to Robert Vadra till February 16 in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Special Judge Arvind Kumar directed him to join the ED investigation on the evening of February 6.

The court was hearing Vadra’s anticipatory bail plea.

The case relates to ownership of undisclosed assets abroad worth 1.9 million pounds allegedly belonging to Vadra, the brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

The ED lodged a money laundering case against Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora after his role surfaced during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

It said the London-based property was bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of its investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

IANS

Categories
India

Robert Vadra moves anticipatory bail plea in money laundering case

Robert Vadra on Friday moved anticipatory bail plea in a Delhi Court in connection with a money laundering case being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The bail plea will be heard by a special judge on Saturday.

The case relates to ownership of undisclosed assets abroad worth 1.9 million pounds allegedly belonging to Vadra, brother-in-law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi.

The ED lodged a money laundering case against Vadra’s close aide Manoj Arora after his role surfaced during the probe of another case by the Income Tax Department under the new Black Money Act and tax law against absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

It said the London-based property was bought by Bhandari and sold in 2010 for the same amount despite incurring additional expenses on its renovation.

On December 7, as part of its investigation, the ED conducted searches at a number of premises in Delhi-NCR and Bengaluru.

IANS