Friday, November 29, 2019

Agencies suspect Jet owners siphoned Rs 8k cr via bogus bills

Mumbai: Probe agencies investigating books of defunct Jet Airways suspect that entities related to its founder Naresh Goyal and his associates used thousands of bogus bills to launder some Rs 8,000 crore from the airline into tax havens, people aware of probe details alleged.
 Investigators specifically probing the role of Goyal in alleged irregularities at what was once the country’s largest airline are looking into more than 5,000 bills raised by operation creditors, including aircraft lessors, maintenance agencies and general sales agents (GSAs). They suspect most were bogus and raised through entities related to Goyal or associates, sources told ET.
 Investigation has also revealed that some suspected companies and directors have been named in the Offshore Leaks report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) disclosing details of about 130,000 offshore accounts, sources claimed. “With the company now under insolvency proceeding, former employees who were handling the finances of the company have quit long back. Therefore, information on the genuineness of the transactions are not available,” an official said. “Probe has revealed that most of these dues are bogus and the contracts entered were fictitious.”
 More than 50% of the 4,575 GSAs that sought ticket refunds were found to be bogus entities created to evade taxes, and sleuths suspect all that money was subsequently laundered into accounts held by Goyal and his associates, sources said.
 In the case of aircraft lessors that raised claims, more than 90% are based in Ireland, share a common office address, and have a crisscross pool of directors and company secretaries, sources claimed. According to a disclosure made by Jet Airways, as on October 20 this year out of the total claims of Rs 14,128 crore raised by 69 aircraft lessors, the company admitted claims of only Rs 1,572 crore. It rejected 73% of the bills raised totalling Rs 10,394 crore as per the disclosure reviewed by ET.
29/11/19 Jaikishan Yadav/Economic Times
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