Yes Bank: Anil Ambani appears before ED in Mumbai

Reliance Group Chairman Anil Ambani appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai in connection with a money-laundering probe against Yes Bank promoter Rana Kapoor and others, officials said.

Reuters
Anil Ambani, the group chairman of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group or Reliance Group (ADAG), joined the Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into a money laundering case against Yes Bank's co-founder Rana Kapoor. According to the agency, Anil Ambani’s conglomerate took loans of about Rs 12,800 crore when Kapoor was at the helm.

Last week, the federal agency told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court here that Rs 20,000 crore sanctioned as loan to various corporate houses when Kapoor was at the head of the bank, turned NPA. The agency claimed that in lieu of the loan given to the stressed entities, these companies extended loans to 78 companies linked to Kapoor’s family members. The monies raised through these loans were subsequently laundered to purchase real estate and other assets both in India and abroad.

“Ambani met ED officials today to clarify on the Reliance Group's exposure to Yes Bank. He reiterated that the Reliance Group’s entire exposure to Yes Bank is fully secured and transacted in the ordinary course of business. All transactions between the Reliance Group and Yes Bank are in compliance with the law and financial regulations. Ambani also clarified to the agency that Reliance Group has no direct or indirect exposure to Mr. Rana Kapoor or his wife or daughters, or any entities controlled by Mr. Rana Kapoor or his family. Reliance Group is committed to honor repayments of all its borrowings from Yes Bank through its various asset monetization programmes. Ambani has assured that the Reliance Group will continue to extend their full support and cooperation to all authorities,” spokesperson for Reliance Group said.


Earlier this week, ED summoned the promoters of all major corporates who were borrowers of Yes Bank for questioning. They include Anil Ambani, Subhash Chandra, Naresh Goyal, Gautam Thapar, Sameer Gehlaut and Peter Kerkar, apart from DHFL’s Wadhawan brothers Kapil and Dheeraj.

According to sources, the ED, which is investigating detained Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor for alleged money laundering, has issued around 18 such notices to corporate houses, including promoters and key officials. Yes Bank is currently in the process of being rescued by State Bank of India and other investors. The sources pegged the loan exposure of the Anil Ambani-led group at Rs 12,8000 crore, Essel Group at Rs 8,400 crore, DHFL at Rs 3,700 crore, Avantha at Rs 1,900 crore, Jet Airways at Rs 550 crore and Indiabulls at Rs 425 crore as of December 31.

“While Ambani was summoned on Monday, he had expressed his inability to join the probe on Monday owing to prior commitment. He has joined the probe today,” said an official privy to the details. Ambani reportedly reached the agency's Ballard Pier office at 9 am and is likely to be questioned till evening.
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“These groups have exposure to the bank, we have asked their chiefs to join the probe to understand the loans sanctioned to their entities, the collateral given and what were the reasons behind the accounts turning NPAs,” said another official aware of the details. “They will also be asked on the loans given to Kapoor-linked firms and what was the collateral shown by them while availing the same.”

In the case of the Reliance Group, according to documents accessed by ET, RAB Reality received a loan of Rs. 35 crore from Reliance Capital in FY13 and another loan of Rs. 80 crore in FY14. However, charges related to this were not filed before the MCA. Another Kapoor-linked form, Morgan Credits Pvt. Ltd., received loans from Reliance Capital. As per the financial statement for FY16, the firm received a loan of Rs.100 crore from Reliance Capital at 10.50%.

As per the financial statement for FY17, it received another loan of Rs 400 crore from Reliance Capital at 9.25-10.50%. In all the cases, charges before MCA were not filed.

Other than Ambani, ED on Monday had also issued summons to Subhash Chandra, Naresh Goyal, Gautam Thapar, Sameer Gehlaut and Peter Kerkar, apart from DHFL’s Wadhawan brothers Kapil and Dheeraj. While the Wadhawans have been served with fresh summons for Tuesday, Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra and Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal have been called to appear on Wednesday. Peter Kerkar, director of Cox & Kings (India) was called today. Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd promoter Sameer Gehlaut has been asked to appear on Friday and Gautam Thapar, promoter of the Avantha Group, has been called on Saturday.
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While so far only Ambani has joined the probe, Gehlaut, Wadhawans and Goyal have cited COVID-19 as the reason behind not being able to travel and therefore join the investigation, Chandra had cited his Rajya Sabha commitment. The agency will issue fresh summons to them.
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