A leading Tory donor who has given more than £220,000 to the party is being investigated over allegations of fraud and money laundering.
Karan Chanana, head of the global rice brand Amira, is being investigated in India over claims that tens of millions of pounds of bank loans were unlawfully diverted into shell entities. Chanana has not responded to the claims.
The allegations come as the UK government faces mounting pressure to tighten up rules on foreign donations and improve diligence checks. The Conservatives face calls this weekend to freeze the money donated by Chanana, pending an inquiry.
The enforcement directorate in India, which is part of the country’s finance ministry, said it conducted search operations on 2 May at 21 locations in India connected to Chanana, the Indian company Amira Pure Foods and other parties.
Nearly £100,000 in Indian currency was seized in the searches, which were conducted under India’s Prevention of Money Laundering Act, said the directorate. No charges have been filed to date.
In a statement, the enforcement directorate said: “Investigations revealed that the accused entities in connivance with each other as well as other related/unrelated entities have illegally diverted loan funds sanctioned by the consortium of banks by way of transferring loan funds into the accounts of various shell entities under the guise of genuine business transactions.
“It was also known that Karan A Chanana had donated to a political party of [the] United Kingdom since 2019 … while the accused entity had itself defaulted on repayment loans.”
Chanana, 50, has been credited with transforming a family business into a global conglomerate.
His company Amira Nature Foods was listed on the New York stock exchange inRead more on theguardian.com