New Delhi: The Income Tax Department’s Mumbai unit has served notices to Mukesh Ambani’s wife and his three children for their alleged “undisclosed foreign income and assets”, according to a report in the Indian Express.
The notices were reportedly served on March 28, 2019, under provisions of the 2015 Black Money Act, after an investigation aided by information received from agencies in several countries.
In 2011, after the government received details of an estimated 700 Indian individuals and entities holding accounts in HSBC Geneva, an investigation called Swiss Leaks by the Indian Express and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found the actual number of account holders to be 1,195 and revealed that 14 HSBC Geneva bank accounts, with a balance of $601 million held by offshore entities in tax havens, were all linked to the Reliance Group.
Details of the Income Tax investigation report dated February 4, 2019, and the notices sent on March 28, 2019 reveal that members of the Ambani family are named as “ultimate beneficiaries” of one of these 14 entities, the Capital Investment Trust, through various foreign and domestic entities.
The investigation also found that the subsidiary of Capital Investment Trust – based in the Cayman Islands, a known tax haven – was not named in the list of shareholders for two Reliance subsidiaries despite having invested in them. The money invested reached the Reliance Industries Holding Pvt Ltd, whose ultimate beneficiaries are the four members of the Ambani family.
In response to queries from the Indian Express, a Reliance spokesperson said: “We deny all the contents of your email including receipt of any such notice.”
According to the Indian Express report, the notices were served only after a final clearance was given following a protracted “back and forth” between the department’s Mumbai unit and the Central Board of Direct Taxes. The notice also alleged that the Ambanis had not disclosed details and holdings in the Capital Investment Trust and in its “underlying company”, the Cayman Islands-based Infrastructure Company Limited of which they were also ultimate beneficiaries.
The notice also claimed that the assessees were also the ultimate beneficiaries of Harinarayan Enterprises and following provisions introduced in the 2012 Finance Bill, the assessees were required to disclose the details of all foreign bank accounts, trusts, financial interests or immovable property and assets held outside India.
The notice also pointed out that the Ambani’s did not avail the provisions of the Black Money Disclosure Scheme of 2015, according to which the government gave four months for people to declare any previously-undisclosed foreign income or assets.
The notice also asked the Ambani’s to declare evidence in support for the assessment of undisclosed foreign assets for 2018-19 in a hearing scheduled for April 12.