According to the recent Pandora Papers, Unitech Group promoter Sanjay Chandra’s wife Preeti Chandra had set up an offshore family trust structure and changed her nationality six years ago. She also founded two companies in the British Virgin Islands. The two companies and the trust were incorporated between her husband’s arrests in 2011 in the 2G spectrum scam, and in 2017 for allegedly cheating homebuyers.
The records further reveal that Preeti got her passport in 2016 from the Commonwealth of Dominica, which doesn’t have an extradition treaty with India.
Records of corporate service provider Trident Trust show that Unitech Group defaulted as early as 2009 on servicing a $210-million loan from Credit Suisse for investing in realty projects in India.
Last Monday, the Enforcement Directorate that has been probing the Unitech money laundering case has arrested Preeti Chandra and Sanjay Chandra’s father Ramesh Chandra. In March, the ED had stopped her from boarding a flight at Delhi. The agency claimed she was “involved in laundering and layering of funds deposited by home buyers”.
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court cleared a “full-fledged criminal investigation” into allegations of collusion of certain officials of Tihar jail with Sanjay Chandra and brother Ajay Chandra while they were lodged in the jail. In August, both were ordered to be separated and moved to jails in Mumbai.
Formed in March 2015, Trikar International Inc (BVI), was to hold assets for the family trust, which was being set up with Preeti as protector. Bellmora Ltd (BVI) was incorporated as the “named beneficiary in the Chandra Family Trust” in May 2015 to hold investments in UAE and India, and a bank account in Emirates NBD, Dubai.
The Chandra Family Trust held all 50,000 shares of Trikar International, which was funded by Trikar Advisors DMCC (Dubai); Trikar General Trading FZE (Sharjah); and “fashion designing businesses.”
After Preeti got her passport from the Commonwealth of Dominica, she transferred all shares of Trikar General Trading FZE (Sharjah) from Trikar International to herself for 150,000 dirhams. By the end of 2016, she decided to dissolve the family trust and Trikar International. In a self-certification in April 2017, Preeti declared herself to be a tax resident of UAE and Dominica.