The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is reportedly conducting searches at some places linked to asset manager Franklin Templeton and its former and current executives as part of a money laundering investigation.
The searches are underway in Mumbai and Chennai, as per reports.
The federal agency is looking to gather more evidence as part of its investigation against the company and its promoters under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said, according to PTI.
Capital markets regulator Sebi, in November 2020, had issued a show-cause notice to the company following its April 2020 decision to wind up six debt schemes having Rs 25,000 crore of assets under management (AUM) from 3 lakh investors, citing liquidity challenges because of the pandemic.
The company was asked to pay Rs 5 crore as penalty, return over Rs 450 crore collected as 22-month investment management and advisory fees, and was banned from launching new debt schemes for alleged irregularities in running the six debt schemes.
The Chennai police economic offences wing (EOW) subsequently registered an FIR to probe these alleged irregularities. The ED case of money laundering stems from this complaint.
Meanwhile, in 2021, Sebi restricted the heads of the asset manager Vivek Kudva and Roopa Kudva from accessing the securities market and from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in securities, directly or indirectly, or being associated with the securities market in any manner, whatsoever, for a period of one year.
The Enforcement Directorate is conducting searches on Vivek Kudva, former Asia Pacific head of Franklin Templeton, his wife Roopa Kudva, who is also managing partner, Omidyar Network India, as well as on Santosh Kamath, chief investment officer at Franklin Templeton, among others.
Vivek Kudva and Rupa Kudva were held guilty of withdrawing their own investments ahead of the winding of the schemes.
The firm on Thursday said that it is cooperating with all regulatory and statutory authorities, including by providing required data and information, as per a Reuters report.
(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)
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