DMLI starts detailed probe in Sumargi caseThe Department of Money Laundering Investigation has started a detailed investigation into the property owned by controversial businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi.
The Department of Money Laundering Investigation has started a detailed investigation into the property owned by controversial businessman Ajeya Raj Sumargi.
For the probe, the DMLI has appointed a five-member team of deputy attorney, deputy superintendent of police, tax officer and law and administration officers from the department.
The move, taken in line with Section 15 of the Money Laundering Prevention Act, comes after a preliminary report, prepared jointly by the DMLI and the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police, found Sumargi’s involvement in illegal fund transfers from abroad with a motive to launder dirty cash. Sumargi already faces a government probe on the charge.
“The five officers will conduct further investigation into Sumargi’s funds and submit a report to the department,” said Jeewan Prakash Sitaula, director general of the department.
The DMLI, based on a detailed probe, can take Sumargi to the Special Court on the charge of illegal fund transfers and money laundering.
The preliminary report of the DMLI and the CIB indicates that Sumargi may have formed shell companies in tax havens to transfer illegally earned wealth from Nepal and remitted the funds back to the country in the name of investments and loans to launder the dirty cash.
The report shows Sumargi and firms affiliated to him have brought around Rs9 billion illegally into Nepal through “suspicious companies” in the tax havens, signalling his involvement in shady business deals.
Sumargi and his companies have so far received $118 million (approximately Rs12.1 billion) and 380,000 pounds sterling (around Rs 52.6 million) from “suspicious companies” based in the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, Egypt and Belarus, shows a government report.
This money, most in the form of loans, started entering the country as early as January 2008 via Nabil Bank. Nepal Invest-ment Bank Limited has also been used for fund transfers since, which continued until November 2013. Of the money that entered Nepal, only $28.5 million (approximately Rs2.9 billion) forwarded to the accounts of Nepal Satellite Telecom and Mukti Shree Cement has been frozen at the NIBL in the absence of necessary documents. Sources said that a portion of the funds that landed at Nabil Bank has also been frozen, but the Post could not confirm the amount.
The beneficiaries of 97 percent of the funds are four firms owned by Sumargi—Nepal Satellite Telecom, Mukti Shree Pvt Ltd, Mukti Shree Cement and Mukti Shree Telecom. But only Mukti Shree Cement and Nepal Satellite sought permission to bring in foreign investment, that too for mere $30.9 million (approximately Rs3.2 billion).
This means $87.1 million and 380,000 pounds (approximately Rs9 billion) were brought in without permission from the authorities.