Private player Axis Bank on Monday said it has initiated internal probe into the alleged illegal money transfer case involving Rs 557 crore and the matter is being taken on a “priority basis”.
“We have taken note of the recent media reports involving our Bank alongwith 8 other banks relating to a probe by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). This is being investigated internally on a priority basis,” Axis bank said in a clarification sought by BSE.
In yet another alleged money transfer case last week, the Enforcement Directorate unearthed the forex scam involving nine domestic banks as well as some international banks, with illegal remittances being sent to Hong Kong and China.
On the agency’s trade-based money laundering radar the banks involved in the national capital region are Oriental Bank of Commerce, Axis Bank, ING Vysya, ICICI, Kotak Mahindra, IndusInd, Dhanlaxmi Bank, YES bank and DCB bank.
Axis Bank further said that it is fully committed to maintaining the highest standards of business and regulatory conduct and has “zero tolerance” for any deviations.
“The Bank will extend full co-operation to the law enforcement agencies during the course of any investigations in this regard,” Axis Bank added.
It is alleged that the accused traders in the case evaded customs duties and taxes to generate slush funds.
In this connection, the probe agency had also arrested a Ghaziabad-based foreign exchange operator Manish Jain, for sending these illegal remittances to these foreign locations.
An FIR was lodged in connection with this case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Jain was arrested for allegedly depositing and remitting Rs 505 crore between 2006 and 2010 from the Rajpur branch of OBC in an illegal manner against imports that “never took place”.
These remittances were made through 66 accounts in the said OBC branch, as per the ED, and were subsequently sent to an HSBC bank branch in Hong Kong and then to China in return for settling dues of various importers in India with Chinese suppliers.
The case was busted after the agency got leads from an accused in the Bank of Baroda money laundering case, where suspicious remittances of an estimated Rs 6,000 crore came to light recently and which is being probed by multiple agencies including CBI, SFIO, Income Tax department and the ED.