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Punjab National Bank detects $1.8 bn fraud at a Mumbai branch, Links to Nirav Modi

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India

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Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank is India's second largest bank. Wikimedia Commons
  • Punjab National bank has detected a $1.8 billion fraud
  • The fraud happened in their Mumbai branch
  • The matter has been referred to law enforcement

Punjab National Bank, the second largest public sector bank in India, has detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches here, the bank said in a regulatory filing to the stock exchanges on Wednesday.

Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.
Punjab National Bank experiences a fraud of $1.8 bn.

“The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance,” the filing by the bank said.

It had quoted the quantum of such transactions was to the tune of around $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore).

The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

Also Read: Raghuram Rajan: The Man Who Revolutionized The Indian Banking System

This case has happened at a time when the Indian banking system is already grappling to tackle its swelling non-performing assets.

“Based on these transactions other banks appear to have advanced money to these customers abroad. In the bank these transactions are contingent in nature and liability arising out of these on the bank shall be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions,” the filing said.

Punjab National Bank's Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons
Punjab National Bank’s Mumbai branch is now under high scrutiny. Wikimedia Commons

The bank informed: “The matter is already referred to law enforcement agencies to examine and book the culprits as per law of the land.”

On February 5, the Central Bureau of Investigation had booked billionaire diamond service provider Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an enterprise companion for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 280.70 crore last year.

Also Read: Con man in Delhi Duped Amazon for over Rs. 50 Lakh; Arrested by Delhi Police for Fraud

Following the complaint, the CBI registered a FIR under the Indian Penal Code sections related to criminal conspiracy, cheating and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against the four.

The stock of Punjab National Bank was trading at Rs 149.20 per share, down 7.70 percent at the BSE at 1.59 p.m. IANS

Next Story

Chinese Police Catches Hold of $1.5 Billion Money in Online Lending Scandal

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

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Chinese policemen watch as depositors from Ezubao gather outside the State Bureau for Letters and Calls Reception Division office in Beijing, Jan. 1, 2016. China's policy ministry says it investigated 380 online lenders following an avalanche of scandals. VOA

Chinese police have investigated 380 online lenders and frozen $1.5 billion in assets following an avalanche of scandals in the huge but lightly regulated industry, the government announced Monday.

Beijing allowed a private finance industry to flourish in order to supply credit to entrepreneurs and households that aren’t served by the state-run banking system. But that threatens to become a liability for the ruling Communist Party after bankruptcies and fraud cases prompted protests and complaints of official indifference to small investors.

The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste.

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The police ministry said it launched the investigation because person-to-person, or P2P, lending was increasingly risky and rife with complaints about fraud, mismanagement and waste. Pixabay

The ministry gave no details of arrests but said more than 100 executives were being sought by investigators and some had fled abroad. It said authorities seized or froze 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) but gave no indication how much might be returned to depositors.

Police say some lenders and investment vehicles were brazenly fraudulent, while others collapsed after inexperienced founders failed to manage risk.

Monday’s statement said P2P lenders were investigated for complaints including wasting money, reporting phony investment plans and using illegal tactics to raise money.

Lending through online platforms grew by triple digits annually until 2017 when regulators tightened controls.

Depositors lent 1.9 trillion yuan ($280 billion) last year, but that was down by 50 percent from 2017, according to the Shenzhen Qiancheng Internet Finance Research Institute.

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The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved. Pixabay

The outstanding loan balance stood at 1.2 trillion yuan ($177 billion) at the end of 2018, down 25 percent from a year earlier, according to Diyi Wangdai, a web site that reports on the industry.

P2P lenders are part of a privately run Chinese finance industry the national bank regulator estimated in 2015 had grown to $1.5 trillion.

The internet has helped financial platforms attract money from financial novices with little knowledge of the risks involved.

Many lend to factories and retailers or invest in restaurants, car washes and other businesses. But inexperience and poor risk control means a downturn in business conditions can bankrupt them.

Also Read: Sales of Smart Feature Phones Expected To Be About $28 Billion Over Next Three Years

Finance as a whole has come under tougher scrutiny after a 2015 plunge in stock prices led to accusations of insider trading and other offenses.

In one of China’s biggest financial scams, authorities say depositors lost 50 billion yuan ($7.7 billion) in online lender Ezubo before it was seized by regulators in 2015.

The founder and his brother were sentenced to life in prison in 2017. (VOA)