During the probe of YES Bank fraud case, Enforcement Directorate has discovered 'fictitious customers' allegedly used by Cox & Kings to launder thousands of crores, officials said. The central probe agency has identified 15 fictitious customers, whereas 147 more non-existing customers are being probed, said an ED officer.
The Enforcement Directorate on Monday conducted searches at 5 premises of Ajay Ajit Peter, Pesi Patel, Abhishek Goenka, Anil Khandelwal and Naresh Jain, who are at senior positions in Cox & Kings Group, Mumbai and are being investigated in YES Bank fraud case worth Rs 3,642 crore under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
An amount of Rs 3,642 crore is outstanding against Cox & Kings Group which includes Rs 563 crore of Cox & Kings Ltd (CKL), India; Rs 1,012 crore of Ezeego One Travel & Tours Ltd (EOTTL), India; Rs 422 crore of Cox & Kings Financial Services Ltd (CKFSL), India; Rs 1,152 crore of Prometheon Enterprise Limited, UK; and Rs 493 crore of Malvern Travel Ltd, UK.
According to ED, during investigation in YES Bank case, irregularities were noticed in relation to the loan sanctioned to Cox & Kings Group. "Group had created multiple layers of onshore and offshore subsidiaries across the globe through which the monies were siphoned off. Malvern Travel Limited, UK submitted the forged bank statement of RBS Bank, UK, State Bank of India, UK and forged end used certificates of a UK-based statuary auditor to avail the of loan of Rs 422 crore from YES Bank," said the ED.
The ED claims that during their probe in Cox & Kings, based on the limited data available, the firm was found to be involved in falsification of accounts, overstating the sales figures and understating the debt figures and fictitious transactions.
The agency also found that from 2015 to 2019, sales of Rs 3,908 crore were made to 15 non-existent and fictitious customers. "Majority of collection shown in ledgers from Ezeego (another group entity) was not found in the bank statements. Another 147 sets of customers are also suspicious and non-existent, as per audit report of Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC). As per the report, Anil Khandelwal, CFO of CKL, diverted Rs 1,100 crore to Alok Industries Ltd without any approval of board," said an ED official.
In another incident, the probe agency claimed that Cox & Kings sold Holiday Break Education Limited, UK (HBEL), a subsidiary of their firm, for Rs 4,387 crore and instead of discharging the liability of bank, they siphoned off majority of the money. "From this siphoning, $15.34 million was transferred to Kuber Investment Mauritius Pvt Ltd which was controlled by Peter Kerker," added the ED official.
The financial probe agency had registered a money laundering case against Rana Kapoor and others on March 7, 2020, on the basis of a FIR registered by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). He has been accused of sanctioning loans to dubious entities for personal gains. Kapoor was arrested by the ED on March 8 and is currently in judicial custody.