30 May 2016

ATMC: Malicious and Misleading TV Broadcast on the Mauritius Jurisdiction by India Today

The Association of Trust and Management Companies (ATMC) refers to the malicious and misleading TV broadcast on the Mauritius jurisdiction by India Today on 24 May 2016 entitled ‘How Agusta kickbacks were channelled from Mauritius into India’ (the “Broadcast”). We strongly condemn the Broadcast which in our view, amounts to cheap and sensationalist reporting masquerading as investigative journalism and wish to clarify as follows:

  1. The Broadcast solely and naively relies on the comments of one person to brush a wide canvas of deceit where it accuses a whole country of money laundering! Sweeping statements like ‘Mauritius is a fertile market for operatives like … courtesy of local laws’ or “Once the shell company is formed, the Mauritian kickbacks factory blossoms with hundreds of consultants suddenly available to work the scam” only highlights the gullibility of the two Indian under cover so-called reporters and the editors of India Today who just believed their interlocutor at face value!
  2. The objective of India Today seemed to have been to show how allegedly dodgy funds entered India through Mauritius without any control. We highlight that, in fact, stringent customer due diligence procedures prevail in Mauritius both at the onset of any business relationship and on an ongoing basis, including the identification of sources of funds. India Today appears to be totally unaware or has maliciously ignored the fact that Mauritius has been rated as “largely compliant” by the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax purposes.
  3. India Today would surely remember the Satyam Computer Services (SCS) scandal that shocked India and the world in 2009 where the chairman of SCS, Ramalinga Raju confessed that the company's accounts had been falsified. The SCS scandal was an isolated criminal act. Would India Today blame India and its population for that scam as well? Did India Today consider the possibility of an isolated criminal act limited to their interviewee only involving falsified documents at any stage of the alleged scam or the possibility of funds having been channeled to Mauritius through A-rated banks and supported by genuine due diligence documents i.e where already clean money entered and left Mauritius?
  4. The Global Business sector in Mauritius is well regulated and India Today has provided no tangible reason/evidence to support its blatantly incorrect statement that a GBC1 could be “the key to funneling kickbacks.” It is a verifiable fact that a GBC1 is subject to enhanced due diligence when its objective is to invest in India. The two Mauritius companies allegedly linked to the scandal were Category 2 Global Business Licence companies (i.e GBC2) and NOT GBC1! A GBC2 company is not tax resident in Mauritius for treaty purposes and cannot therefore benefit under the Mauritius India tax treaty or any other treaty but is nevertheless subject to regulatory and reporting requirements to Mauritius authorities. In fact, India could fairly easily attempt to tax any income or gains of the GBC2 related to the funds transferred to India by the GBC2 companies! The India Today’s amateur sleuths are lucky that they did not pay for the advice that they received from the person they interviewed as his advice appears to not only be totally flawed but also factually incorrect!
  5. ML ADMINISTRATORS LTD is not a member of the ATMC and we draw attention to the Communiqué issued on 26th May 2016 by the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius in respect of this matter. 

India Today is entitled to its opinion relating to the person who was interviewed. The ATMC considers however that the Broadcast has caused prejudice to operators in the global business industry, to the reputation of Mauritius as an International Financial Centre and to Mauritius as a sovereign nation. The ATMC calls on India Today to do the honourable act of retracting its malicious statements that malign Mauritius as a whole.

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