Connecting Regions of Asia.

The Big ‘Import’ Scam Links To Hong Kong

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New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation has filed two supplementary charge sheets in connection with the alleged illegal remittance of ₹ 6,000 crore from Delhi’s Bank of Baroda branch to Hong Kong, camouflaged as payment for imports, sources said.

In the charge sheets filed before a special CBI court, the central agency has alleged that a group of people opened accounts and deposited funds through various accounts.

The CBI has named nine accused in the supplementary charge sheets: Tanuj Gulati, Ish Kumar, Ujjwal Suri, Hunney Goel, Sahil Wadhwa, Rakesh Kumar, Sagar Gulati, Bhanu Gulati, and VPC Management Consultants Pvt Ltd.

The agency had in 2015 charged several officials of the bank and others for allegedly making remittances of over ₹ 6,000 crore to southeast Asian countries by 59 current account holders from the Ashok Vihar branch of Bank of Baroda in the garb of purported payments for “non-existent” imports, the sources said.

The agency has found that the Ashok Vihar branch of the bank is a relatively new one and got the permission to entertain forex transactions only in 2013, they said, adding, ₹ 6,000 crore was transferred through nearly 8,000 transactions done between July 2014 and July 2015.

The amount remitted in each transaction was kept at less than $100,000.

“All the remittances were made to Hong Kong. The amount was remitted as an advance for import and in most of the cases, the beneficiary was the same,” an official had said after filing an FIR.

“Most of the foreign exchange-related transactions were carried out in the newly-opened current accounts where heavy cash receipts were observed but the branch did not generate Exceptional Transaction Report (ETR) and did not monitor the high-value transactions,” a senior official had said.

The sources said these remittances were sent by splitting them into amounts below $100,000 to avoid automatic detection by the software used by banks to alert them about such transactions.

They said in taxation language, the technique is known as ‘smurfing’, and holders were able to skip the scrutiny of such transactions.

“It was revealed that most of the addresses given by the companies/firms were either false or the companies/firms did not exist at the said addresses. Most of the accused persons allegedly involved in the perpetration of the said crime have been identified and their interrogation is underway,” the official had said.

Courtesy – NDTV

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