Dutch arrest three in US$1.2 billion India laundering probe

THE HAGUE: Dutch investigators have arrested three former employees of a local company suspected of laundering some US$1.2 billion for an energy client in India, prosecutors said Friday.

The Dutch company bought materials and services around the world for the Indian firm which has been involved in laying a gas pipeline on the subcontinent since 2006.

“It is suspected that the Dutch company used to increase the amounts on the invoices for the materials and services supplied,” said the public prosecutor’s office, which did not name either company.

The company also acted as a so-called “invoice duplicator” meaning the Indian company was able to claim costs twice from gas customers, the statement added.

“The ‘profits’ earned in this way were subsequently creamed off via the Dutch company,” it said.

The gains were then transferred via a complex web of businesses based among others in Dubai, Switzerland and the Caribbean, before eventually ending up at a business owned by the Indian company in Singapore.

The suspects allegedly received payments of up to US$10 million for their involvement.

Suspicions were raised after an inspection of the books of the Dutch company, situated south of the central city of Utrecht.

Dutch investigators of the elite Fiscal and Investigation Services raided the company’s premises in November 2017, seizing administrative records.

The three suspects who were arrested on Tuesday are expected to appear before the Rotterdam district court on Friday.

“In this case Dutch companies are suspected of assisting an Indian client to launder suspected illegal earnings,” the statement said.

The real losers “were probably individual citizens in India” as the cost of production of gas is passed onto the consumer, it added.