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An Offshore Family Trust Owned by a Goan Businessman Comes Under The Purview of Pandora’s Papers

The first case of a family trust owned by the Goan Businessman Rohan Timblo has got under the scanner of scrutiny connected to the pandora’s Papers.
Asiaciti Singapore
Asiaciti office Situated in Singapore
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The Pandoras Papers have exposed a huge leak of the taxes in the country and how the rich and famous people have evaded the taxes by forming off-the-shelf companies in offshore and private family trusts. There are around 11.9 million leaked files and 14 Global Corporate Service providers and 29,000 off-the-shelf companies.

According to the report published on the Indian Express the Indian Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) have asked the Timblo’s Colares Trust and its three underlying companies Calheta Holdings Ltd, (Samoa) Cazar Finance (SA), and Panama based Corylus Assets Inc. to furnish the details of its all the financial transactions.  

The Indian Express has been doing the reports on the Pandora Papers () for the past decade or so and found many Indian entities holding the offshore account to evade the taxes in India. The media has revealed that the IRAS had sought the clarification from Asiaciti Trust Singapore Pte Ltd that provided corporate trustee services to Timblo.

The IRAS had asked for the details from Timblo’s Colares Trust in Singapore and its three underlying firms – Calheta Holdings Ltd in Samoa, Cazar Finance SA in the British Virgin Islands and Panama-based Corylus Assets Inc.

According to the reports, the Indian Express had tried to communicate with the Timblo family based in Goa via email and text messages but none of the family members including Ms Radha Timblo but did not get any response from her in this regards. 

The clarifications have been sought from the Timblo’s family following the IRAS found two suspicious transaction Reports (STRs) by Asiaciti, the firm taking care of the financial transactions for the Timblo Firms overseas. 

How Suspicious Transactions Exposed?

According to the reports, the first Suspicious Transaction came into the radar of IRAS in the year 2015 when Timblo sought to add the two unrelated persons to their trust. The persons of Bulgarian Origin, Martin Vladimir Dobrev and Tchavdar Tchavdarov Tzenov had been added by Timblo to their Family trust Colares which was set up for the family wealth succession. 

This transaction did not stop at just adding the non family members to the Family Trust but the STR also exposed the transaction of 1,72,200 Euros done in the account of Dextera Capital Ltd, a Bulgarian firm owned by Dobrev and Tzenov. 

As per the STR, the loan amount was exactly the amount that Calheta Holdings had in its bank account. 

Meanwhile the Asiaciti did not allow Timblo to add the Bulgarian nationals to their family trust as beneficiaries but it allowed the loan transaction to go through in November 2015. 

However, Asiaciti also filed an STR with the Singapore Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), records show.  

Background Check of Timblos by The Indian Express

According to the STR reports, one of the directors of the Timblo mining company, Rohan Timblo was found involved into the mining scam along with his brother Chetan Timblo is one of the subject of the STR transactions.  

“While carrying out due diligence prior to executing the loan transaction for Dextera, the organization (Asiaciti) discovered that the subject (Rohan) was recently implicated in a mining scandal involving Timblo Private Limited, an enterprise owned by his mother Radha Timblo and where the subject is named as one of the directors together with his brother Chetan Timblo,” the first STR stated.

Chetan Timblo was also questioned in regards to the Indian Black Money case involving the tax evasion and fraud in India. According to the reports, the records were found in the case of the subject wherein he was found to hold an illegal back account overseas, “But no further details are available at this time,” stated the STR. 

According to the reports, the records shows that in year 2014 the Indian Supreme Court had initiated a legal proceedings against the Timblo Family including Radha Timblo, Chetan Timblo, Rohan and Mallika Timblo for allegedly stashing black money abroad. At that time, Radha Timblo denied wrongdoing.

The Black Money Case

The report further suggests that the Timblos involvement in the black money case was exposed since 2010 when the Special Investigation Team (SIT) under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court judge M B Shah had submitted its findings on Timblos to the supreme court. 

According to the reports, based on the findings of the Income Tax Department probe into Timblo Pvt Ltd and its managing director Radha Timblo which began in 2010, it was alleged that Radha Timblo had declared the transactions in two foreign bank accounts, Wing Hang Bank Ltd and Bank of Communication, Hong Kong. 

The Income Tax Department had also alleged that the mining company of Timblos, Timblo pvt Ltd had under invoiced iron ore exports to a Japanese Firm and diverted an additional funds from the sale proceeds into the above two bank accounts. 

The Pandoras Papers

The Pandoras Papers has revealed that in June 2016, Asiaciti had filed the second STR on the Calheta Holdings after the Director of Timblos, Rohan Timblo visited their office in May 2016 to clear the outstanding issues.   

Timblo, according to the STR, requested for documents pertaining to the trust structure set up with Asiaciti including the bank account records of Colares Trust and Calheta Holdings.   

“Rohan declined to make payment of fees by electronic transfer and ended up paying cash for the additional time charges to make duplicate statements. Also he specifically instructed me (Asiaciti officer) not to use the email address he provided earlier and that he does not want email communication at all,” the Asiaciti officer said in the June 2016 STR. 

According to records, Colares Trust was set up in 2011 as a family trust with Rohan Timblo, his wife Mallika Timblo and their children as the ultimate beneficiaries. The trust was set up by Rohan Timblo to receive profits from the mining business in India.

The Family Trust owned by Rohan Timblo

According to the reports, the (Colares Trust) Family Trust setup by Rohan Timblo in year 2011 with the sole purpose of holding the money (profits) coming from the mining business in Goa to “accumulate and grow” his family wealth for which he, his wife and their children would be the ultimate beneficiaries. 

Diversion of the Funds From Family Trust?

The profits earned from the mining business in Goa were deposited into the said family trust and from their it used to goto two firms (Cazar and Corylus) formed by the trust to invest the money in “truck-stop business in Bulgaria” and “property project and related investments in Bulgaria (building, renting or selling holiday homes and luxury apartments)’ which was managed by the UK property Agent.  

aAccording to financial records of the companies owned by Colares Trust, in February 2013, Rohan Timblo in two transactions remitted through the trust Euro 600000 (6 crore INR) and Euro 60000 (6 lakh INR) to his father-in-law Dilip Mahabal Kulkarni for a private investment and for acquiring stake in Bulgarian firm EM Boyana Ltd, respectively.

Conclusion

According to the reports, in the year 2014, just after the Indian Government initiated an action against the Timblo Family, the name of Rohan Timblo’s Wife and Children removed from the Colares Trust as Beneficiaries.  

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