Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Jet formed illegal pacts with related offshore parties

Mumbai: An ongoing probe against Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal has revealed that the grounded carrier entered into illegal agreements with related offshore parties based in tax havens at rates way above market prices, causing losses to the airline as well as the national exchequer, said people aware of the matter.
They said the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has gathered details of the offshore entities, with which Jet Airways and its group companies entered into lease and maintenance and general sales agent (GSA) agreements, on the basis of information shared by the Toronto-based Egmont Group — an international network of 164 financial intelligence units formed for the purpose of combating money laundering as well as terror financing.
The Jet Airways founder and his wife, Anita, were questioned earlier this month on the basis of information shared by the Egmont Group, of which India is a member, according to the people. They said the couple was questioned in connection with alleged violations of the foreign exchange law in an equity deal with Jet Privilege Private Ltd (JPPL), which operated the airline’s loyalty and rewards programme.
“The probe has revealed that Jet Airways entered into related-party transactions, with most of the entities being ghost companies floated only for the purpose of creating fake transactions and thereby acting as a conduit to divert funds to tax havens or countries that have a liberal tax regime,” an official told ET on condition of anonymity. “This clearly amounts to violation under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) as fake invoices were floated and the monies that should have come to India were routed abroad.”
15/10/19 Rashmi Rajput/Economic Times
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