Rosy Blue Denies Involvement in Panama Papers Companies

Legal
06/04/2016 21:54

The Indian Express has written that one of the largest diamond trading firms in the world, Antwerp-based Rosy Blue, has been linked to at least 24 offshore companies in the Panama Papers, "and these are shown to have been registered in the tax havens of British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Anguilla and Mauritius ... Most companies," the paper writes, "were registered by Harshad Ramniklal Mehta, with a capital of $50,000 each, between 2004 and 2008. Rosy Blue is listed as “client” of most companies." It claims that "a clear pattern" emerges from the documents, namely that "one company is listed as the principal shareholder of another." Documents on the 24 companies show that Harshad Mehta is associated with the largest number of these offshore entities and his son, Rihen Mehta, is added as director in some of them.

As its main example, the article states, "The files mention Amic Mining Management Holdings Limited, set up in 2004 in the British Virgin Islands for undertaking prospecting/exploration of diamond mining in Luanda in Angola. The agreement for the project was between a South African firm and Rosy Blue FZE (another offshore company with this name exists in the Mossack Fonseca files and is among the 24 companies mentioned). The shareholders of Amic Mining are six other Rosy Blue companies, including Rosy Blue FZE. Dilip Mehta, one of the brothers at the helm of Rosy Blue, is among the directors." It also cites internal emails from the Panamanian firm at the heart of the affair, Mossack Fonseca, about "objections" and "anxiety" it had concerning two of the directors of Amic Mining Management Holdings Limited. The other thrust of the article is that the names of the Indian diamond merchants that surface in the Panama Papers figured in previous lists of accounts in Liechtenstein, British Virgin Islands and HSBC Geneva. Harshad Mehta did not respond to calls or queries sent on email. Chetan Mehta said he has been an NRI (non-resident Indian) and has been living in Belgium. “I am an NRI. Besides, these companies have closed down several years ago,” he said.

In response to the insinuations by The Indian Express, Rosy Blue has issued the following press release denying its involvement in the Panama Papers companies:

"We refer to certain publications in the Indian press, regarding the so called Panama Papers, in which insinuations have been made regarding the involvement of the Rosy Blue Alliance of companies in creating off-shore structures for illegitimate purposes.
The conclusions made in these publications are untrue and misleading as the Rosy Blue Alliance has currently no shareholding, directorship or involvement in any of the mentioned structures.
We do not deny that during the mid-2000’s, the Rosy Blue Alliance of companies was studying the possibility of becoming active in the mining activity. For that purpose, Rosy Blue FZE, which was an operating company based out of Dubai, had taken a minority participation in a company specialized in the exploration of such mining possibilities. This company was incorporated under the laws of BVI serving a fully legitimate business activity. However, this activity did not materialize and hence the company was liquidated.
As to the involvement of Mr. Harshad Mehta in the incorporation of companies in his personal name and capacity, we would like to refer to his personal statement herewith attached.
Mr. Harshad Mehta and his son Rihen Mehta are since 2014 no longer part of any Rosy Blue company and have created their separate line of business."

The press release and accompanying documents are attached below.