Pandora Papers: Antrix Diamonds defaults on bank loans, its owner sets up a network of offshore companies
A Mumbai-based jeweler, whose company is in default on loans to 19 Indian banks, has set up a network of offshore companies with cross-holdings to funnel funds with a billionaire Saudi businessman linked to a Mexican drug lord, reveal that the Pandora Papers have been investigated. by the Indian Express.
Files relating to Antrix Diamonds Exports Pvt Ltd, an Indian company promoted by Ajay Gandhi, show that Singapore-based Andin Investments held more than 20% of the capital of Antrix Diamonds, which owes more than 500 crore rupees to banks. of the public sector in India and was declared a willful defaulter.
Andin Investments is owned by two offshore companies: Shertha Limited, Mauritius, and Zoom Investments & Securities Limited in Dubai. Shertha and Zoom are both owned by two companies, Ace Investments in Dubai and Infinity Investments Securities Limited in BVI.
The records of the Ace Investments company reveal that the two managing shareholders of the company are Gandhi and Saeed Khalifa Mohammed Al Fuqaei.
Fuaqei is the owner of Dubai-based Shurra Group which provides business start-up services. Records show that in 2016, Phoenix Finance Group Ltd, a BVI company linked to indicted Mexican drug lord Hassein Eduardo Figueroa GÃ³mez, transferred its five subsidiaries to Fuaqei.
GÃ³mez and his father, Ezio Benjamin Figueroa Vasquez, were indicted in a U.S. federal court in Virginia in 2011 with conspiracy to launder money related to drug trafficking.
Emails to Ajay Gandhi and Fuqaei of the Shuraa group did not elicit any response.
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Under the share purchase agreement of Andin Investments, during fiscal year 2010-11 the company purchased 9,980 shares of Antrix Diamonds for Rs 9.1 crore from Sevantilal Fakirchand & Co Pvt Ltd in the part of two different transactions.
Subsequently, he increased his stake to hold more than 20% in Antrix Diamonds. To do this, Andean, promoted by Gandhi, according to the records, borrowed up to $ 3.10 million from Shertha and Zoom, also promoted by Gandhi.
According to records, Shertha transferred her stake in Andin to Zoom Investments in 2015. In the same year, Indian banks declared Antrix Diamonds to be a willful default after defaulting on loans over Rs 450 crore.
Incidentally, Pandora Papers records show that in May 2016, Andin sold his stake in Antrix Diamonds worth $ 3.10 million to Zoom Investments controlled by Gandhi and Ace Investment of Fuaqei.
This was done to settle the loans granted by Zoom to Andin. As a result of this transaction, Zoom Investments became the major shareholder of Antrix Diamond, which had a book value of $ 4.6 million in 2012.
In 2017, Antrix Diamonds filed for bankruptcy in India. The company and its promoter Gandhi are under investigation by the Economic Offenses Wing of the Mumbai police for alleged payment default from its suppliers. Gandhi was arrested by EOW in September 2020.
Antrix Diamonds is currently in liquidation. According to a public announcement released by Antrix Diamond’s lenders in June, lenders attempted to auction the outstanding Antrix Diamonds trade receivables for Rs 537 crore without success, even though the auction’s reserve price at Rs 4.83 crore is less than one percent of the money owed to banks by Antrix Diamonds.
Gandhi’s American company Anaya Gems Inc has also been arrested by the United States government for allegedly evading tariffs on jewelry imported into the United States. According to the Justice Department in August 2020, Anaya Gems agreed to pay $ 415,000 for defrauding the United States by falsely underreporting jewelry imports from Hong Kong and Thailand.