Paradise papers: Sebi lens on firms for fund diversion

Paradise papers: Sebi lens on firms for fund diversion

Markets regulator Sebi will look into alleged fund diversion and corporate governance lapses at various listed firms and their promoters, including those linked to Vijay Mallya, named in the leaked 'Paradise Papers'.

While some entities linked to Mallya are already being probed by Sebi and other agencies, any fresh disclosure in the leaked documents made public by ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) would be thoroughly looked into, senior officials said.

The disclosures about other listed firms and those associated with them or their promoters would also be looked into for any irregularities including about corporate governance and disclosure norms, the officials added.

Officials maintained that mere presence of any Indian entity in an offshore tax-friendly jurisdiction may not amount to the violation of laws, but non-disclosure about such entities and routing of funds to them could be ascertained only after a thorough investigation.

To start with, the stock exchanges and the regulator would ask the listed companies concerned to provide details about any offshore entities liked to them, which would be then matched with the statutory and regulatory disclosures made by those companies including in annual reports and other filings.

Sebi will also coordinate with other regulators and government agencies, while information would be sought from foreign regulators if required, one official said, adding that a structured multi-regulatory approach could be discussed at FSDC (Financial Stability and Development Council) or other such forums.

The 'Paradise Papers' investigation, carried out by ICIJ along with media partners across the world has unveiled offshore activities of some of the world's most powerful people and companies after exploring 13.4 million leaked files from offshore law firms and the company registries in some secretive countries.

 

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