Karti set up a subsidiary in Singapore to execute transactions.
By Sreekanth A Nair
India’s Enforcement Directorate and investigation wing of the Income Tax Department have unearthed huge wealth acquired by Karti Chidambaram, son of former union finance and home minister and prominent Congress leader P Chidambaram.
The investigation agencies found Karti has made investments in real estate assets and other businesses in many countries, including England, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, British Virgin Island, France, USA, Switzerland, Greece and Spain, reported The Pioneer.
Officials investigating the alleged acquisition of Indian telecommunication company Aircel by Malaysian company Maxis found the details of Karti’s investments following the raid conducted in his company Advantage Strategic Consulting. It was found that he did transactions through Advantage’s Singapore-based subsidiary Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pte Ltd.
The probe found that Advantage Strategic Consulting Singapore Pte Ltd. had acquired 88 acres at Surridge Farm in Somerset in the UK for one million Pounds in September 2011. It has investments in Artevea Digital Limited in Cambridge and has transactions with another London-based company Oppenheimer Investments (UK) Limited.
Karti’s Singapore Company had bought the majority shares of Lanka Fortune Residencies, a big resort in Sri Lanka that owns resorts such as ‘The Waterfront’, ‘Weligama Bay Resort’ and Emerald Bay Hotel.
The company had bought three farms and vineyards in South Africa, identified as Rowey Farm in Grabouw, Cape Orchards and Vineyards Private Limited, and Zandvliet Enterprises, a wine and stud farm in Ashton. The money to purchase these farms was routed via Dubai.
The Dubai-based Desert Dunes Properties Ltd had transactions worth 1.7 million Singapore Dollars with Karti’s company and it is also said to have an investment in the company. Pearl Dubai FX LLC, another Dubai-based company also has financial transactions with the Advantage.
Advantage had entered into joint venture with Philippine companies such as SM Arena Complex Corporation, Sports Entertainment Events Management Inc and two persons from the Philippines – Juna Kevin and Haresh C Hiranand to get a franchise team of International Premier Tennis League (Asia).
The investigation team has got the details of the firm set up by Advantage in British Virgin Island (BVI), namely Somerset Surridge Ltd. It had also invested 400000 Singapore Dollars in another company in the same area.
In a deal worth $12 million, Kirti’s company had entered into joint venture with a Singapore firm Gravitas Investments, Match Point International Tennis Events. This was to buy a franchise tennis team called ‘Manila Mavericks’.
Karti’s Singapore Company also had bought a residential flat in Malaysia worth 1.9 million Malaysian Ringgits. It also had many financial transactions with many Malaysian companies. Malaysia is the head quarter of Maxis which acquired Aircel in an alleged deal in 2006, which is being investigated by the team, the Pioneer report said.
In August 2012, the Singapore arm of Advantage started a subsidiary in Barcelona known as Advantage Estrategia Esportiva SLU.
In another alleged deal, Advantage Singapore transferred $50,000 to the account name “Chennai Reserve – Business Advantage Checking” of Bank of America. The account belongs to Kitchen Inc, based in New York.
Officials have found that all these deals were executed in 2006 after the Aircel- Maxis deal. The report also says that the agencies have submitted the details to the Supreme Court of India, which is monitoring the probe.
The investigation agencies have written to the authorities in Singapore to get details of the transactions. They will also seek help from the agencies of other 14 countries to get the details of other transactions.
Karti Chidambaram acquired a huge amount of wealth from 2006 to 2014 when his father P Chidambaram was the finance minister of India. Karti’s company Advantage Strategic Consulting allegedly was involved in the Aircel-Maxis deal.
Investigation agencies say that the approval given by P Chidambaram for Maxis to acquire Aircel was illegal.