Kiran Shaw told Indian Express that the trust had been set up in 1999 as an investment company from his foreign currency earnings.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw portrait, where a red shirt and smiling at camera
Money Pandora Papers Monday, October 04, 2021 - 16:53

The offshore entities of John McCallum Marshall Shaw, the husband of Biocon Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, were revealed in the Pandora Papers, according to a report by the Indian Express. This is part of the millions of leaked documents dubbed as the 'Pandora Papers' by a worldwide journalistic partnership on Sunday which claimed to have uncovered financial secrets of current and former world leaders, politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories, including India.

The report in the Indian Express questions if Biocon and Mauritius-based Glentec International, — owned 99% by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw’s husband — should use the services of a company, Allegro Capital, which was investigated by markets regulator SEBI for insider trading. The insider trading case was also related to Biocon. In the case, Allegro Capital and its director as well as major shareholder Kunal Ashok Kashyap were fined Rs 10 lakh each.

It is important to note that not all offshore entities are illegal, and there can be legitimate interests for the same. The report by the Indian Express particularly pertains to Kashyap’s involvement with the Deanstone Trust, which is owned by Kiran Mazumdaw Shaw’s husband John McCallum Marshall Shaw. 

Kiran Shaw told Indian Express that the trust had been set up in 1999 as an investment company from his foreign currency earnings to acquire Unilever’s shares in Biocon before it became a listed company, as well as for other purposes. 

SEBI's July order barring Allegro Capital and Kashyap for one year also noted that Allegro Capital was in a temporary business relationship with Biocon, and that Kashyap also held directorship in Mazumdar Shaw Medical Foundation. This case is reportedly currently pending with the Securities Appellate Tribunal, according to reports. The SAT is where appeals against SEBI orders are heard. 

The Biocon chief said on Monday, October 4, that the 'Pandora Papers' have wrongly implicated her husband's offshore trust, and termed the organisation as "bonafide" and "legitimate".

"Media stories reporting on Pandora Papers wrongly implicate my husband's offshore trust, which is a bonafide, legitimate trust and is managed by Independent Trustees. No Indian resident holds the key to the trust as alleged in these stories," Mazumdar-Shaw, the executive chairperson of biotechnology major Biocon, said in a tweet.

The 'Pandora Papers' have named 300 Indian individuals, including Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani and Nirav Modi.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which involved the BBC and 'The Guardian' newspaper in the UK and 'The Indian Express' in India among 150 media outlets in its investigation, claims it obtained the trove of more than 11.9 million confidential files to find secret financial dealings of many super rich.

The 'Pandora Papers' are a follow-up to a similar project released in 2016, called the 'Panama Papers' compiled by the same journalistic group.

With inputs from PTI