These submissions are a blatant attempt to damage SoftBank’s reputation, it said in a statement.

SoftBank refutes charges of executives receiving kickbacks in early India investments
Atom Controversy Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 10:26

SoftBank is making some big bets in the Indian market with large investments in firms like Ola, Snapdeal and now Paytm. But even as it continues its big bets in India, issues over its initial investments here seem to be coming back to haunt it, as per a report in The Wall Street Journal.

It all started a year ago when a bunch of anonymous sharholders accused SoftBank’s then president and COO Nikesh Arora of poor business decisions. This also included some questionable transactions at Snapdeal and Housing.com.

There has been a written complaint submitted to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Softbank Global’s alleged improprieties in its Indian investments.

SoftBank backed Nikesh Arora back then but he eventually quit the company. But the allegation don’t seem to have stopped. Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which committed $45 billion to SoftBank’s $100-billion Technology Vision Fund, has also expressed concerns over these charges and sought clarity from the firm, as per the report.

Apart from Nikesh Arora, Alok Sama president and chief financial officer of SoftBank Group International has also been accused.

However, Arora and Sama have refuted these claims saying, “None of the allegations contains even a shred of truth,” and “they are based on obvious untruths.”

In a statement released by the company, it said that the company is aware that certain individuals are waging a malicious smear campaign against SoftBank and its senior executives through a series of defamatory letters. “These submissions are based on falsehoods and innuendo, littered with inaccuracies and are a blatant attempt to damage SoftBank’s reputation, and that of its respected executives,” it said in the statement.

SoftBank even named a suspect. A certain individual in Switzerland, Nicholas Giannakopoulos, claiming to be a shareholder of SoftBank, appears to be fronting this campaign, the statement said.

“While SoftBank has the deepest respect for the rights of shareholders to raise legitimate concerns, we will not allow ourselves or our executives to be victims of a shameless intimidation scheme. Accordingly, SoftBank has filed a criminal complaint against this individual with the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Geneva on December 23, 2016, and we will not hesitate to take further action to protect its interests,” it added.

Through public letters, Giannakopoulos demanded that Sama be ousted over the alleged financial misdeeds.

As per a report in Inc42, SoftBank head Masayoshi Son appointed Nikesh Arora as the president of SoftBank Global in 2015 to increase investments in Asian tech companies. Son even hinted towards him being a potential successor of SoftBank Group.

Post this, SoftBank became an active investor in the Indian market. Some of its big bets, as per the Inc42 report, are $625 million investment in Snapdeal and $210 million in Ola.

However, within a few months of his appointment, some stakeholders of SoftBank raised concerns on his $135 million remuneration for the year 2014 and his $483 million expenditure to buy SoftBank shares in his personal capacity.

Following demands of investigations, Nikesh stepped down from his position in June 2016 after getting a clean chit from The Special Committee that conducted a review with the assistance of independent counsel at Shearman & Sterling and Anderson Mori & Tomotsune. While Arora was given an advisory role, effective July 1 2016, Masayoshi said that he will continue as CEO for another five to ten years.

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