SEBI, Antigua differ on ‘clean chit’ to Choksi

Did the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) give a clean chit to Mehul Choksi twice?

According to a statement issued by the Citizenship By Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua, the Indian capital markets regulator found no evidence of wrongdoing against the fugitive diamond trader, who is a co-accused in a Rs. 13,500-crore scam involving the Punjab National Bank and other public sector banks in India.

Mr Choksi acquired the citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda in November 2017. The SEBI, however, has clarified that it has neither received any request from the CIU nor provided any information concerning Mr. Choksi or on the investigations against him.

CIO statement

On Thursday, the CIU issued a statement saying it has received information from SEBI that while there were two instances of the regulator probing Mr. Choksi, both matters had been closed for different reasons.

“In the conduct of its due diligence, the CIU received documentation of two instances in which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), in 2014 and 2017, opened investigations on a corporate entity owned by Mr. Choksi,” the CIU statement said.

“We requested updates on the status of the investigations and received documentary confirmation, issued by the SEBI, stating that in one case, the matter had been satisfactorily closed, and indicating in the other that there is not sufficient evidence to pursue the matter further,” added the statement.

SEBI has, however, disputed the CIU statement saying it “has neither received any request from the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU) of Antigua for updates on any investigation nor provided any such information to CIU.”

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