New Delhi: Documents accessed by The Indian Express during the Pandora Papers investigation corroborate parts of what was reported by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Financial Times and The Guardian relating to the Adani Group, the Indian daily reported on Friday.
Two of the offshore shell companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, named by the reports as vehicles that invested in Adani stocks, are in fact linked to the Adani Group according to records of offshore corporate service provider Trident Trust, The Indian Express reported.
Thursday’s reports, based on documents accessed by the OCCRP, revealed that two men linked to Gautam Adani and his brother were using one Global Opportunities Fund in Bermuda “for a specific purpose — to amass and trade large positions in shares of the Adani Group, one of the biggest and most politically connected private conglomerates in India.” The FT concluded that the duo – “Nasser Ali Shaban Ahli from the United Arab Emirates and Chang Chung-Ling from Taiwan”, associates of Vinod Adani, brother of the conglomerate’s founder Gautam Adani – had their investments “overseen by a Vinod Adani employee, raising questions over whether they were front men used to bypass rules for Indian companies that prevent share price manipulation”.
“While Ahli used Gulf Asia Trade and Investment Limited, Chang used Lingo Investment Limited,” The Indian Express stated. Emerging India Focus Funds (Mauritius) and the EM Resurgent Fund (Mauritius) under the Global Opportunities Fund (Bermuda) channelled funds through these two BVI shell companies to invest in Adani stocks.
“Corporate records, accessed by The Indian Express, reveal the web of networks through which office-bearers and employees of Adani companies controlled these two BVI shell companies,” the report states.
“A month after Gulf Asia Trade and Investment Limited (BVI) was incorporated in May 2011, records show, a Dubai-based Chartered Accountant firm wrote to Trident Trust asking whether “hand written documents will be accepted… when they want to do the share transfer” of the company,” according to The Indian Express. The share transfer agreement said Ahli was “desirous of selling his 100% shareholding” to one Rakesh Shantilal Shah.
“Rakesh Shantilal Shah in 1996 replaced Vinod Adani’s wife Ranjanben as director in GA International Inc (Bahamas), a company set up by Vinod and Ranjanben in 1994. Rakesh Shantilal Shah also served as director in Adani Global FZE (Jebel Ali, Dubai) along with Vinod Adani,” The Indian Express reported.
“As for Lingo Investment Limited, on its day of incorporation in August 2010, records show that it granted Power of Attorney to Tejal Ramanlal Desai, along with director Chang, to operate bank accounts and invest in properties, stocks etc,” the newspaper continues. “An April 2022 order of the Principal Commissioner of Customs (Ahmedabad) identifies Tejal Desai as an employee of Adani Global FZE.”