An order passed by the Mumbai unit of the income-tax (I-T) investigation wing in March 2022 lists offshore entities and details of transactions in linked bank accounts adding up to over Rs800 crore of Anil Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani (ADA) group, says a report.
In the report, Indian Express says
, "The order passed under the Black Money Act (BMA) is understood to detail Anil Ambani's beneficial ownership of entities in two offshore havens, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). In the Bahamas, he set up the Diamond Trust in 2006 with an 'underlying' offshore company, Dreamwork Holdings Inc. Following requests sent by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to the Bahamas, through the foreign tax and tax research (FTTR) division, the existence of a linked Swiss bank account—in the Zurich branch of UBS Bank—came to light."
"Another undeclared offshore company, incorporated by Anil Ambani in 2010 in the BVI, is North Atlantic Trading Unlimited. This company was found to have a linked bank account with the Bank of Cyprus," the report says.
According to the newspaper, this entity was among 18 entities linked to Anil Ambani in the recently published Pandora Papers investigation listed by the Indian Express but, evidently, was already on the radar of the I-T authorities.
In 2020, Mr Ambani, the chief of Reliance ADA group, claimed to be bankrupt and told a UK court that he had sold off his jewellery for Rs9 crore to pay off legal expenses and owns 'nothing meaningful'. He even claimed his wife and family were bearing his costs and that he had even taken a loan from his son Anmol of several crores.
However, according to Indian Express, Mr Ambani is not the only one, and several big-ticket defaulters at home have millions stashed abroad.
Indian Express says
, "Records in the Pandora Papers reveal that the chairman of Reliance ADA group and his representatives own at least 18 offshore companies in Jersey, BVI and Cyprus. Set up between 2007 and 2010, seven of these companies have borrowed and invested at least $1.3 billion."
"In Jersey, Anil Ambani owned three companies—Batiste Unlimited, Radium Unlimited and Hui Investment Unlimited — that were incorporated between December 2007 and January 2008."
"Batiste Unlimited and Radium Unlimited are owned by Reliance Innoventures Pvt Ltd, the ultimate holding company of ADA Group. Hui Investment Unlimited is owned by AAA Enterprises Ltd (Reliance Inceptum Pvt Ltd since 2014), which is a promoter company of Reliance Capital," the report says.
In 2020, Mr Ambani appeared before a UK court under Rule 71 via video conferencing over a lawsuit brought by three State-controlled Chinese banks over non-repayment of loans.
When asked about the 12mn (million) equity shares he owned in Reliance Innoventures, the R-ADA group chief claimed that the shares were worthless. Mr Ambani added that he had borrowed Rs500 crore from his mother and Rs310 crore from his son Anmol. In October 2018, Mr Ambani claimed he took a loan of Rs500 crore from his mother, but when the lawyer asked him to reveal the loan terms, he said he was not privy to the actual terms of the loan.
In 2012, Anil Ambani took a loan of over US$700 million for his company Reliance Communication Ltd (RCom) from three Chinese banks for which he provided a personal guarantee. The company is currently caught in insolvency proceedings.
The banks managed to get a judgement debt to the tune of US$717 million against Mr Ambani. Mr Ambani was asked to provide a list of assets to the UK court and bank statements and credit card statements for the past 24 months, since he failed to pay the banks as per the court's direction.