Pandora Papers: BVI Company Owned by MGF’s Shravan Gupta, JV with Emaar Raised $ 2 Million
In 2007, less than two years after the merger of Dubai-based Emaar and Shravan Gupta-owned MGF, a British Virgin Islands (BVI) company invested $ 2 million in the joint venture, according to the Pandora Papers. .
Gupta was the beneficial owner of a company in BVI where his finance ministry issued two notices after his name surfaced in the list of Indian account holders at HSBC Bank (Geneva).
A resolution on Asiatrust Limited, provided by AsiaCiti Trust, shows that in 2007 Zala Holdings Limited (ZHL), BVI, invested USD 2 million in Emaar MGF with ANI Capital Holdings India Limited, Cayman Islands. ZHL’s 100% stake was held by Churchill Trust, Cook Islands. Asiatrust Limited, also based in the Cook Islands, was a trustee of the Churchill Trust.
Gupta is facing cases in India. His name, along with that of his wife Shilpa, were found in the HSBC (Geneva) list of Indian account holders published in early 2015. There was a total balance of 33.8 million in their accounts in 2006-07.
Now, documents from the BVI chapter of the Panamanian law firm Alcogal (Aleman, Cordero, Galindo & Lee) show that Gupta was the UBO (Ultimate Beneficial Owner) of Itasca International Limited, BVI, incorporated on July 1, 2009.
The shareholders of Itasca International Limited, BVI, included The Amrita Trust, Switzerland. Alcogal was the “first registered agent” of the company. Itasca was dissolved in 2013.
Gupta is the man behind real estate development company Emaar MGF. Dubai-based Emaar Properties entered India in 2005 and has invested approximately Rs 8,500 crore in the property market through its Emaar MGF joint venture. But Emaar and Gupta’s FGM decided to separate on April 11, 2016, more than a year after Gupta and his wife were found on the HSBC (Geneva) list.
In fact, when Itasca was incorporated, Fernando A Gil, a Panamanian citizen, was its sole director. On November 2, 2009, Gil issued a share certificate for 50,000 Itasca shares of USD 1 each to The Amrita Trust, Switzerland. Alcogal had also classified Gupta as a “PPE” (Politically Exposed Person).
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Less than a year after the publication of the HSBC list, on February 1, 2016, the International Tax Authority (ITA), under the BVI Ministry of Finance, notified Alcogal to produce the “Register of shareholders and directors of the company (Itasca) “and” details of the beneficial owners of the company as well as customer due diligence documents. “Another notice was sent on February 29, 2016 to provide a” description of the business commercial activities of the company ”.
In response to the first notice, Alcogal declared on February 15, 2016: “The beneficial owner of the company is Mr. Shravan Gupta. He also said: “We requested due diligence documents from our client. We will provide them once received.
In the second opinion, Alcogal informed ITA on March 18, 2016, that “on the basis of the information provided to us by our intermediary client, the company (Itasca) was used to hold bank accounts”. Less than a month after the last response, on April 11, 2016, Emaar and MGF decided to go their separate ways.
On December 15, 2018, the Directorate of Execution (ED) seized the assets of Gupta worth 10.28 crore rupees instead of the assets held overseas. The ED said that, according to its investigation, Gupta had $ 1.54 million in his bank account maintained with HSBC in Switzerland.
On February 8 this year, Gupta’s former joint venture partner Emaar filed an FIR in Gurugram against him, his wife and five associates for allegedly deceiving Emaar by nearly Rs.180 crore in connection with an illegal land deal. The FIR alleged that Gupta, who was the former general manager of the Emaar MGF joint venture, also deceived the Haryana Department of Land Use Planning (DTCP) with an “unfair transfer” of plots of land using “falsified documents”.
Gupta and his wife did not answer questions from Indian express.