Until a couple of years ago, Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, who immigrated from Karnataka to the Gulf in the 1970s to establish a global healthcare and hospitality empire, was considered one of the richest Indians, being ranked on the Forbes Billionaires List with a net worth of $3.15. one billion.
Today, he faces a travel ban. An indictment was indicted by Karnataka High Court, and he was asked to disclose his origins. That, after a 2020 report from investment firm Muddy Waters, highlighted his soaring loans that today stand at $6.6 billion. His assets in the UAE and his companies on the London Stock Exchange were frozen, and Shetty returned to Bengaluru – only to face accusations of not paying debts to a large number of Indian banks.
The loans, for which he was a guarantor, amounted to Rs 2,000 crore towards Bank of Baroda and Rs 800 crore towards Punjab National Bank. On November 14, 2020, Shetty was denied permission to return to the UAE from Bengaluru.
Known for his fleet of Rolls-Royce cars, private jets and yachts, Shetty is now under intense pressure from lenders and banks to announce his full list of assets, properties and investments. In April of this year, the Karnataka High Court said: “It appears at first sight that (Shetty) refused to disclose his other assets…The fear is that the defendants may dispose of their assets so that the same will disappear by the time the judgment is delivered against them or against the entities/ The companies they control.
But now the Pandora Papers show that Shetty set up a complex offshore company network in Jersey and the British Virgin Islands, mostly in 2013, and those companies hold shares in his main subsidiary, Travelex Holdings Limited, which is based in the UK.
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The “company chart” in confidential data, updated to October 2017, shows Travelex has 81 separate companies including in Switzerland, Panama, Brazil, China and Japan, along with the US and UK.
Trident Trust papers show that BVI’s Brave City International Holdings Inc. was incorporated in August 2013 with an authorized capital of US$50,000 and a Shetty director. Its stake was split among other BVI companies in Shetty.
Among the blanket licenses granted to Shetty as director of Brave City International Holdings in 2013, there were powers to open and close bank accounts; management of any business including the collection of all money owed to any person; And dealing with government authorities / free zone authorities, including signing all documents.
Trident Trust data shows that several members of the Shetty family are among the shareholders in this offshore group of companies.
Shetty’s wife Chandrakumari Raghuram Shetty owns half (25,000 shares at $1 each) of BRS Investments and his son, Binay Shetty, is listed as one of the directors of Travelex Holdings Limited. His brother Bavagoto Sachinananda Shetty was also nominated as a director of SFG Inc, another company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2013, with an authorized capital of $50,000.
Shetty traveled to India last year to meet his brother’s illness. Sachinananda died in March 2020 and shortly thereafter, Indian banks moved in recovery cases against Shetty. Because of the watch notice issued in his name, he was not allowed out of Bengaluru.
Reply to inquiries from Indian Express“Since the matter is subject to jurisdiction in many jurisdictions, it may not be appropriate for Dr. Shetty to comment at this time,” said Chesher Shetty, Shetty’s nephew.