Melbourne: Indian-origin tycoon Pankaj Oswal has been accused of one of Australia’s biggest corporate frauds for siphoning an additional 113 million dollars out of his Burrup Fertilisers, according to court documents.
The ‘Further Amended Statement of Claim” was filed in the WA Federal Court in July by receivers PPB Advisory on behalf of Burrup Fertilisers and was heard in court last week.
The receivers are seeking the repayment of an additional $115 million on top of $95 million demanded to be re-paid in March.
Pankaj Oswal, Burrup Fertilisers. (File photo Bloomberg)
The extra funds allegedly taken out of Perth-based Burrup Fertilisers, which operates one of the world’s biggest ammonia producers in the Pilbara, takes the claim against Oswal to $210 million, The Australian newspaper reported.
PPB Advisory alleged Oswal transferred huge amounts from his part-owned Burrup Fertilisers to his private companies, many registered in Singapore, either through the use of inflated invoices or direct transfers.
In a statement last night, Oswal strongly denied the allegations and said this is another hit and miss claim by the receiver which has no merit.
“It is a smokescreen to take the spotlight off PPB’s disastrous handling of the Gas Sales Agreement which has destroyed shareholder value and opened up PPB and its lawyers to massive damages claims,” he said.
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission, which was alerted to the case eight months ago, appeared reluctant to mount an investigation because of the likely difficulties in bringing Oswal back to Australia from Dubai.
Oswal previously claimed that he was entitled to funnel money into his private companies as payment for guaranteeing cost overruns during construction of Burrup’s ammonia plant.
The Federal Court documents list more than 50 transactions made during 2009 and 2010.
An amended statement of claim filed by PPB also alleges that a number of other companies issued “inflated invoices” for goods or services that were to be provided to Burrup Fertilisers.