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Unitech promoters used 52 shell companies to launder money, say ED insiders, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

Unitech promoters used 52 shell companies to launder money, say ED insiders, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate
Promoters of Unitech Group allegedly incorporated, controlled and managed more than 52 shell companies through their confidants including employees to launder money from the real estate developer, people privy to an Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into the matter told ET.

Directors of the said shell companies have admitted to the agency that they were appointed as directors in lieu of payment of Rs 10,000 to 20,000 per month and that they were only called to sign certain documents occasionally at different locations, the sources claimed.

One of the ED investigation reports examined by ET claimed that out of the 52 shell companies, 27 were incorporated, managed and controlled by Ramesh Chandra, founder and promoter of Unitech.

Dummy directors of these firms were paid salaries mostly in cash and a few times in bank deposits, and they were made to sign on various documents, the sources said.

One of the shell companies, Brisbane Realtors Pvt Ltd, was used to hold a property in its name in village Badshahpur, Gurgaon, Haryana, they claimed.

The investigation report cited one instance to elaborate on how the shell companies were used to generate, layer and launder “proceeds of crime”.

In 2012, Unitech Corporate Park had invested Rs 2,727 crore in India through Candor Investment Ltd, Mauritius, it said. It had invested Rs 93 crore in Aten Capital Private Limited (India). Out of this, Rs 90 crore was further invested through Aten Portfolio Manager Private Limited in seven entities, namely, Elkins Project and Financial Advisors Pvt Ltd, Feni Precision Equipment Pvt Ltd, Koyana Infra Developers Pvt Ltd, Lifelong Steel & Alloys Pvt Ltd, Zesty Construction Pvt Ltd, Anuj Buildcon Pvt Ltd, and Nicky Marmo Ltd, the probe report said.

The said Rs 90 crore was never repaid, it said.

The agency has claimed that examination of directors of the seven companies revealed that these are shell companies managed and controlled by Unitech Group.

The Chandras have denied the allegations levelled against them.

A director in one of the seven companies, under Section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), which is admissible in a court of law, has deposed that he was directed by Sanjay Chandra to invest Rs 90 crore in the seven shell entities, agency sources alleged.

The probe also revealed that out of Rs 90 crore, Rs 20 crore was returned back to Unitech group, they alleged.

The ED report further said the proceeds of crime were eventually routed to Trikar/Kore group companies.

According to the agency, Trikar/Kore Group is beneficially owned and controlled by the Chandra family, especially Sanjay Chandra and his wife Preeti Chandra.

The word Trikar is a combination of ‘Tri’ and ‘Kar’ derived from the names of Chandra’s daughter Trisha and son Karan as disclosures made by confidants of Chandras, the probe report claimed.

Companies of Trikar/Kore group possess land parcels to the tune of Rs 152.48 crore in Sector 69-70 of Gurgaon.

ED had in October arrested Ramesh Chandra, father of Sanjay Chandra, and Preeti Chandra on charges of money laundering linked to Unitech.

ED informed a local court that Preeti Chandra had hid her association with a host of companies, transfer of funds into her personal accounts, and purchase of houses and a car, as ET reported last month.


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