Paradise Papers: Ranjan Pai of Sikkim Manipal University used offshore vehicles to fuel credit

Records show that between 2002-2003, the company picked up collaterals — listed as four “charges” — worth Rs 87 cr from Indian banks.

Ranjan Ramdas Pai is CEO and MD of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), which runs six colleges, including four overseas, as well as 16 hospitals.

APPLEBY DOCUMENTS reveal how Indian billionaire Ranjan Ramdas Pai, who runs a network of medical and educational institutions and has an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion, set up off shore entities to raise capital.

Pai is CEO and MD of Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG), which runs six colleges, including four overseas, as well as 16 hospitals. He set up MEMG, separating Manipal University and Sikkim Manipal University from the rest of his businesses.

Appleby documents show how MEMG International Ltd, set up by the Bermuda law firm in Mauritius, was the vehicle for Pai to operate a sizeable number of “charges”, or collaterals against assets which he pledged with premier banks in several countries.

Records show that between 2002-2003, the company picked up collaterals — listed as four “charges” — worth Rs 87 crore from Indian banks. Between 2006-2011, records show, MEMG International Ltd got 15 “charges” from foreign banks.

The company’s profile shows that MEMG International Ltd was incorporated in Mauritius in 1998 and became an amalgamated company in 2012 — its original name was Wigmore Worldwide. Both Ranjan Pai and wife Shruti Pai are listed as Directors. While the former was appointed in 2000, Shruti was named Director in 1993.

Appleby records include details of some of the “charges” obtained by the Mauritius entity:

* The first “charge” was taken in February 2002 for Rs 3 crore with the name of the “charge holder” listed as ICICI Bank in Mumbai. The collateral given by the company were deposits of $350,000 face value. This “charge” was released six months later. Incidentally, Appleby has noted how the creation of a subsequent charge was “restricted or prohibited”.

Certficate of incumbency of MEMG International Ltd.

* The second collateral was created in June 2003, for Rs 34 crore. This is described as a credit facility given by Standard Chartered Bank to Manipal Infocom India Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, and the “property charged” are cash deposits of $6 million held by MEMG at Standard Chartered Bank (Mauritius) Ltd with the “charge holder” being Standard Chartered Bank, UAE.

* The following month, a second “charge” was structured for the same amount with “a stand by letter of credit borrowing facility up to $ 8 million”.

* The last “charge” is in Indian currency for Rs 50 crore and the “property charged” is a London debt instrument worth GBP 3.06 million by MEMG pledged with the Standard Chartered Bank (Mauritius).

A 2013 listing of Appleby shows that the two charges obtained in Indian currency with Standard Chartered Bank remain “not released” till that point.

Three years later, the Mauritius company picked up 15 more “charges” from foreign banks over six years. They include:

* In April 2006, the company picked up a fixed “charge” for $15 million from Standard Chartered Bank, London, with fixed deposits in US dollars as the “charge instrument”. Another “charge” with identical conditions was picked up a year later — with the proviso that a subsequent charge was prohibited — and was released in 2010.

* In 2007, the company picked up a mortgage for Singapore dollars 6.6 million with JP Morgan Chase Bank (Singapore) and gave a property located in Singapore as collateral. The “charge” was released in 2011.

* In April 2008, the company picked up a floating “charge” for $45 million from the Wells Fargo Bank Northwest National Association (acting as security agent) — it was renewed four times. The charge instrument, however, kept changing and moved from shares held by the company in various firms — Deccan Tech Park; Cypress Holdings; 4 Ways Limited and MNI Ventures. The 2013 listing shows the securities were not released till then.

* In November 2009, a lien for $2.7 million was picked up from Standard Chartered Bank in London with the “charge instrument” being a fixed deposit account for an equivalent amount with the Mauritius Branch of the same bank. This charge was released a year later.

* In June 2010, a “charge” was registered with DBS Bank Ltd, Singapore, for US$55million. The “charge instrument” was accounts held with the same bank. A second identical “charge” was picked up in October 2010 with shares held by the company in Manipal Health Systems International being pledged. The “charge” was released in 2012.

* In March 2011, UBS AG Bank (Singapore) signed a collateral agreement with the company, pledging a different property located in Singapore. The amount of credit mentioned is Singapore dollars 8.7 million — 2013 documents show the charge was not released till then.

* In August 2012, a fixed charge for $135 million was signed with Standard Chartered Bank (the branch is not mentioned) and the “property charged” was shown as compulsorily convertible debentures. Data show that the creation on subsequent charges for this lien was restricted — 2013 documents show the charge was not released till then.

RESPONSE

Ranjan Ramdas Pai responds: I confirm that I and my wife are associated with Mauritius-based MEMG International Ltd, which was earlier named Wigmore Worldwide.

The “charges” referred by you pertains to security/collateral offered by MEMG International Ltd, for various secured loan facilities availed from foreign banks and Indian (through their overseas subsidiaries/branches) & such secured loans availed were utilised exclusively for expansion (overseas campuses)/investments made outside India.

Investments made by me in MEMG International Ltd, when I was a non-resident from 1996 to 2005, have been disclosed in Income Tax returns filed by me with tax authorities and is fully compliant as per the regulations.

All investments made by MEMG International Limited, into India are declared and necessary approvals have been taken from Reserve Bank of India (acting through authorised dealer), as the case may be.

The loans availed by MEMG International Ltd against charges referred by you, viz DBS Bank, Standard Chartered & Wells Fargo (Security Trustee) have been fully repaid and charges have been discharged. There are certain charges, which are continuing in the records, as the debts availed are under repayment/amortisation, as per facility terms.

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