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Business News/ Companies / News/  Sebi can access all Mauritius information: Mahen Kumar Seeruttun

Sebi can access all Mauritius information: Mahen Kumar Seeruttun

Seeruttun said sharing of information between India and Mauritius is on an ongoing basis as there is an MoU in place between both regulators

Seeruttun said information sharing between India and Mauritius is an ongoing process.Premium
Seeruttun said information sharing between India and Mauritius is an ongoing process.

India’s markets regulator can access all the information it needs on the Adani Group and its affiliates by reaching out to its Mauritian counterpart, a senior Mauritius minister said.

“Authorized institutions (such as Securities and Exchange Board of India or Sebi) are allowed to have full information, even up to the ultimate beneficiaries," Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, minister of financial services and good governance, said in an interview.

Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, minister of financial services and good governanc
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Mahen Kumar Seeruttun, minister of financial services and good governanc

“There is no restriction in accessing information. In fact, we are part of the International Organization of Securities Commission (IOSCO), where we are party to that information exchange," he said.

Seeruttun said that sharing information between India and Mauritius is done on an ongoing basis.

“At the regulator (level), exchanges are happening," he said. “I do know on a regular basis, whenever there is a need to seek information, they do reach out, and there is an MoU (memorandum of understanding) in place between both regulators), in place between FSC (Financial Services Commission) and Sebi to exchange information."

Sebi and its Mauritian counterpart, the Financial Services Commission, which regulates non-bank financial services and global business, have exchanged information on many topics, including Adani, he said.

“One thing I know is that for quite some time, there has been information requested by the Indian regulator. I would say that there has been information sought not just in the last few weeks but over quite some time and on a regular basis. And we have provided that. It is not just on Adani," he said.

The Mauritian regulator also sought information from Adani firms, and so far, it has not found any breach of Mauritius law, he said.

Adani Group entities were the subject of US-based short seller Hindenburg Research’s report released on 24 January, which wiped out the group’s valuation by more than $100 billion.

Hindenburg alleged that funds linked to Adani and his family members, including two Mauritius-based funds, own shares of the group’s listed entities, potentially breaching Sebi’s minimum shareholding threshold for public companies. The short-seller also alleged that Adani family members, including Gautam Adani’s brother Vinod Adani, operated shell companies—with no independent addresses or employee base—in Mauritius and other tax havens such as the United Arab Emirates and Cyprus and have moved money in and out of Adani’s listed entities. The central beneficiaries of many of these firms are in question.

Seeruttun noted that Mauritius had laws in place to prevent the setting up of “shell entities" or companies without business activities and that it is hard for companies to indulge in tax avoidance according to current Mauritius law.

Companies need to appoint local full-time directors, ‘not just nominee directors, and have a significant employee base and demonstrate business activity to have a presence in Mauritius, he said.

Many of these companies in question have structures in other jurisdictions, he said.

“Today, we have put in place all the necessary framework. We have laws, and we have systems in place... Our system has been reviewed several times by international agencies, be it EU (European Union) or OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the Financial Action Task Force," he said. He declined to elaborate on the nature of the information sought by authorities in India but said his country is bound by its treaty to share complete information, including that of the ultimate beneficiaries.

Seeruttun said that Mauritius had a robust system that avoids anyone trying to abuse its jurisdiction.

“We always collaborate with any other jurisdictions and regulators when it is about the need to provide information whenever they are carrying out any kind of inquiry," he said.

As for Hindenburg, which obtained classified information from the Mauritian register, the minister said he wasn’t aware the information was classified and said it could have been public knowledge.

Meanwhile, on the Gift City, the minister said that both India and Mauritius could collaborate further to set up an African corridor. “So far, we have focused on inbound investment, but we could look at outbound investment too from India because there is so much happening in African countries," he said.

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Published: 06 Feb 2023, 11:17 PM IST
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