UAE replies to ED’s LR details request

The Asian Age.  | Abhishek Sharan

Metros, Mumbai

Info will help probe against Winsome Diamonds.

The firms are accused of defaulting on loans worth Rs 1,500 crore.

Mumbai: Around two years after it was sent a judicial request, Letters Rogatory (LR), United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities have finally provided the Enforcement Directorate (ED) key financial and transaction details required in its money-laundering probe against city-based jewellery export firm Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery Limited and a subsidiary firm, said agency sources.

The two firms are accused of defaulting on bank loans worth Rs 1,500 crore. The UAE’s LR details are being scrutinised by the agency and will eventually enable it to verify claims of the accused firms, according to which they had committed no fraud and were in fact victims of non-payment by 13 UAE-based customers, said agency sources.

The two firms allegedly availed loan for the purchase of gold and diamonds from bullion banks to export diamond and gold jewellery to 13 foreign companies in UAE represented by a Jordanian national there.

The accused firms had clarified that the 13 UAE firms had failed to remit money to pay for the exports in 2013, as a result of which they could not pay back the bullion banks, then the default on the bank loan occurred, said ED sources.

An ED source said, “The UAE authorities have replied to all the questions posed to them in detail. The LR details are being analysed and verified, the next course of action will be decided later.”

The ED had sought details from UAE pertaining to location of the assets of the accused firms abroad, financial details on the UAE-based 13 customers that allegedly did not pay for the purchase from the accused firms and authenticity of the business transactions.  

The accused firms had earlier told the ED that the 13 UAE firms had not paid it for the exports and as a result of which it had moved courts there against the customers. They had cited the orders of the Sharjah Federal Court of First Instance, Ministry of Justice, UAE asking the 13 UAE firms to pay their dues to the Mumbai firm, according to an ED source.