Missing US $50 million corruption case Fahreen Rajan charged with money laundering and concealment of property |22 February 2022
The eighth suspect in the case of the missing US $50 million donated to Seychelles in 2002 by the Abu Dhabi government, Fahreen Rajan, was yesterday charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, along with concealment of property.
She is being remanded until Friday March 4, where she will re-appear before Chief Justice Rony Govinden, along with all the other accused in the case.
For money laundering, she has been charged after being arrested in possession of R4,954,491 – previously purchased for US $4,000,000 – in company shares for Apollo Towers Holdings Pte Ltd., Singapore, knowing or believing that such property, was, or represented the benefit of criminal conduct, namely money laundering, or being reckless as to whether the said property was or represented the benefit of such conduct.
As for concealment of property, she has been charged after being in possession of the above-mentioned money, with knowledge at the time of the receipt of such property, that it was from the proceeds of corruption, or related offences.
Being represented by counsel Joel Camille, Ms Rajan was arrested at the Seychelles International Airport on Friday January 21 at 10.30pm while leaving the country following a red alert notice issued by the court earlier that day.
In an affidavit to support the charges, officer and investigator with the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS) noted that Ms Rajan is a trusted confidante for Mukesh Valabhji to the extent that she has been named as the controlling party in numerous companies owned by Valabhji prior to his arrest and detention.
The affidavit further states that Ms Rajan occupies a key role in the management of Mukesh Valabhji’s assets by way of the Power of Attorney as chief executive for the Felicite Island Development Limited, she has expressed control over one of the largest assets of the Valabhji financial empire.
It added that following receipt of information arising from sources in the United Kingdom, the Seychelles government recorded and witnessed statements arising, and a decision was taken within the ACCS that there existed sufficient grounds to suspect that Ms Rajan was involved in money laundering offences and that facilitate the investigation, there were grounds and reasons to arrest the aforesaid individual.
On January 20, 2022 a search was conducted under the authority of a search warrant issued by the Supreme Court at the Capital Trading premises at Providence and a number of exhibits relating to the investigation of the missing US $50 million were discovered during the search.
This include, the Power of Attorney documents issued by Mukesh Valabhji to Ms Rajan for five years on January 5, 2020, witnessed and notarised with the appropriate authentication by Frank Elizabeth.
The Power of Attorney identifies two accounts at the DBS Bank Ltd in Singapore and reference further “all personal accounts held by Mukesh at DBS Bank Ltd in Singapore.
An extensive email chain was also discovered, relating to the purchase of US $4 million shares in Apollo Towers PTE Ltd, by a company known as Silver Cap of which Mukesh Valabhji is the sole beneficial owner.
Emails in the chain demonstrate that Ms Rajan not only knows that the funds were from criminal proceeds, but that she then lied to cover the purchase on behalf of Valabhji.
The affidavit also states that Ms Rajan has used her position as chief executive and controlling party to a number of companies and business bank accounts by aiding, abetting, assisting, counselling and/or conspiring with Laura and Mukesh Valabhji to launder the criminal proceeds of sum, or part of the initial US $50 million.
Money laundering is designed to hide the source of funds and accordingly over the course of time and the creation of layers of businesses and front companies, it becomes difficult to relate the original source of funds with conduct years later.
Due to substantial grounds for believing that if the accused is released on bail she will interfere with witness and otherwise obstruct the course of justice due to the wealth and influence she holds, request for further remand period was granted.
The knowledge that the accused has already attempted to interfere with the course of justice regarding other suspects, or witness in the case, along with her control over a number of Valabhji companies and her demonstration of propensity to use her influence to circumvent financial restrictions for those companies leading to the dissipation of assets have also been considered, while requesting further remand period.