Investigations track $100 million India/Australia scam

INTERESpearlAuthorities in India investigating one of world’s biggest ever financial scams, operated by the Pearls Group, has resulted in the founder of the Group, Nirmal Singh Bhangoo

being arrested for allegedly running one of the world’s largest ever Ponzi schemes. Australian Government officials, businessmen, and political parties are said to be caught up in the scam in which Pearls Group scammed 50 million Indians, out of $10 billion.

Reports say a company associated with Pearls donated $35,000 to the Liberal National Party and $3,600 to Labour. Electoral disclosure records showed Metro Pearls Madison, that has links to the Pearls group of companies in India, made a donation of $10,000 to the LNP fundraiser Forward Brisbane Leadership in 2011, and $25,000 more to the LNP in 2012.

The Indian Pearls group was introduced to Australia by Austrade in 2009, which led to the set up of the company Pearls Australasia, that was provided with $100 million in capital by the Pearls companies in India.

The Metro Property group said its joint venture with Pearls Australia was approved by the Foreign Investment Review Board in 2011. In 2014 Pearls Australasia changed its name to MiiGroup and said it was unaware of concerns about the Pearls Group in India. MiiGroup said recently it will actively cooperate if the Indian authorities intend to take control of Pearl’s India’s shareholdings in MiiGroup.

A corporate intelligence expert and former senor advisor to the Australian Securities and investment commission, Niall Coburn was critical of Austrade and said it was clear there was a complete lack of due diligence right from the start.